Dave Mistich Published

National Park Service Determines Ajax Spring Unsafe for Consumption, Closes Area


The National Park Service will be closing the Ajax Spring located off of Fayette Station Road after recent mandatory testing indicated the water does not meet the minimum requirements for drinking water.  Despite the fact that the spring is posted as a non-potable water source, there are concerns that residents in the local community use the spring water for household use. 

“Because we are aware the public uses the spring we were required to test it during a recent mandatory audit.  When the test results were reviewed by the National Park Service Public Health Inspector, he recommended closing the spring” said Superintendent Trish Kicklighter. 

The lab results showed high levels of arsenic and mercury and the presence of coliform bacteria.  Turbidity is also a major issue of concern.  The water turbidity and presence of coliform indicate surface water is leaking through rock fissures and cracks contaminating the spring. 

The water source for the Ajax Spring comes from drainage out of the old Ajax mine.  The concrete structure and pipe to access the spring existed prior to the park’s establishment.   After this site became a part of the New River Gorge National River in 1988, park staff maintained access to the spring for the local community. 

“We know local residents use the spring to supply their households with drinking water; however, with the recent test results we cannot in good conscience keep the spring operational”, said Superintendent Kicklighter.  

A Fayette County sanitarian stated that the water system does not meet the minimum standards of the WV 64 CSR 3, Public Water Systems.