Guardsmen assist community with water shortage

By Sgt. Scott Raper, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

103rd BSB Water Purification Mission

Spc. Samuel Blackburn of the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion adjusts the flow of water through a purification system in Bledsoe, Ky., Feb. 8. Members of the 103rd deployed to the Harlan County community to assist with a water shortage. (Photo by Capt. William Mattingly, 103rd BSB)

 BLEDSOE, Ky – Kentucky Guardsmen of Alpha Company, 103rd Brigade Support Battalion deployed the first week of February to assist the residents of Harlan County with water filtration.  15 members of the unit traveled to the small coal-mining town of Bledsoe where some residents have been without water for several days.

“Our mission here in Harlan County is very important because people are without water,” said Pvt. 1st Class Cody Faught.  “And we will provide purified water in a timely manner to the community so the people of Bledsoe can return to their daily routines.”

Guardsmen of the 103rd set up one Tactical Water Purification System and two Lightweight Water Purification Systems in order to help provide drinking water to the community.  According to the Soldiers on the ground, the TWPS can produce 1500 gallons of filtered water each hour, while the LWPS can produce 600 gallons per hour.

103rd BSB Water Purification Mission

Water purification equipment is set up by members of the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion in Bledsoe, Ky., Feb. 8. The water purification systems helped provide local residents clean, drinking water during a water shortage. (Photo by Capt. William Mattingly, 103rd BSB)

Several hundred residents have been affected by the shortage that began with mechanical difficulties at the Pineville Water District.  As their flow decreased, out-lying communities such as Bledsoe, simply ran out of clean water.

“Having the National Guard here gives us hope that this will be fixed so we’ll have water again,” said Bledsoe resident Jacob Callahan.

Officials from the Green Hills Water District instructed all customers to continue boiling their water until further notice, and were able to pick up drinking water at designated locations.

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