Mayor: Sewage lagoon above Kentucky town seeping through hill, likely to fail

Published 6:52 am Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A sewage lagoon above a small western Kentucky city is seeping through its embankment and is likely to fail, prompting the mayor to warn residents living downhill to prepare to evacuate if more rains increase the danger.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet notified city officials of the seepage at the Smithland Wastewater Treatment Lagoon along Highway 453, WPSD-TV reported, citing a statement from Smithland Mayor Bill Hesser.

City workers were going door to door on Monday to notify people living downhill of the seriousness of the situation, “especially with more rain in the immediate forecast.” The mayor said the city has hired an engineering firm and is working hard “to remediate this very old system as fast as we can.”

Smithland is a city of several hundred people along a bend where the Cumberland River feeds into the Ohio River.