Removal of Ajax Spring caused community backlash

Local - 1/14/2014 5:51 PM by Rachael Cardin

LANSING - A spring which area locals have always used as a water source is shut down because of contamination.


One of these locals, Keith Miller, said, “been running out the side of the mountain for probably a hundred years, people have been comin’ around here to use it and a lot of people need it." However; "the test results indicated there were high levels of mercury and arsenic in the water there was turbidity in the basically we have some contaminants," said National Park Service official, Robin Snyder.


This community continues to question just how bad the levels are, if the runoff water is flowing into the area below. “If it’s that contaminated they still lettin’ it run down the side of the mountain right on down into above the pump station for this counties drinking water,” asked Miller.


Everyone agreed there is nothing better than natural water, if the source is safe for consumption. Miller said, "I drunk this water all my life and you take a glass of city water and there's no comparison it's just nasty." Even Snyder agreed; "there is also the novelty of getting water out of a fresh mountain spring...unfortunately this water is not fresh."


National Park Service officials said, contrary to its name, the Ajax spring is actually not a natural spring at all. The area that was recently removed was providing water from the old Ajax mine which is only a combination of run off and ground water from the mountain. They believe this is where the contaminants may be coming from.


"It is not actually a spring, when you think of a spring you think of water deep within the mountain that's bubbling and fresh, natural water, water that tastes good the Ajax spring originates from the old Ajax mine which was a coal mine that ran under the mountain and so what you have there is water left over in the mine and also seepage of the water from ground and fissures in the rocks and that's what folks are actually drinking,” said Snyder.


Park Service officials said they are not financially stable enough to re-open the water source and make it drinkable, but will consider other options from within the community. "We would love to work with Fayette County if we could provide places where people might be able to access water that is safer to use," said Snyder.


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