Faculty Research at Morehead State University


"Community self-help activism in water/sewer development: Case studies from McDowell County, WV and Letcher County, KY


Gary A. O'Dell

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2005


The Appalachian region, stretching from New York to Mississippi, has long been considered economically disadvantaged. Of the 410 counties in the region, 22 percent are so lacking in infrastructure and opportunity as to be characterized by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as "distressed." The majority of these distressed counties are located in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky and West Virginia. For many of these counties, among the most critical of development issues for communities and the dispersed rural population are the lack of dependable, good quality water supplies and an effective means of wastewater treatment. By examining these problems in two distressed counties-McDowell County, West Virginia, and Letcher County, Kentucky-this article compares the conventional and innovative approaches being applied to address them.