Nearly 7,600 miles of streams flow through the basin's 3,440 square miles in 14 counties to the Tug Fork, Big Sandy River, and Ohio River. The Tygarts Creek–Little Sandy River Basin includes 1,160 square miles. The Big Sandy River Basin has 2,285 square miles in Kentucky and 1,950 square miles in West Virginia and Virginia. There are nearly 17,000 acres of wetlands, including water bodies.
Residents draw about 27 million gallons of water per day (mgd) from streams and reservoirs in the basin. About three in five residents are on public water; other households rely primarily on domestic wells. Only about one in four households are on public sewer. On-site wastewater treatment is a critical issue affecting water quality throughout the basin.
More than 540 miles of streams in the basin do not fully support designated uses for warm-water aquatic habitat, fish consumption, and primary contact recreation. Most streams have not been assessed. The percentage of assessed streams not supporting uses was warm-water aquatic habitat (60%); fish consumption (16%); primary contact recreation (40%).
45 miles of streams have been declared special use waters: either exceptional waters or reference reach waters.
There are four remediation priority watersheds including 200 square miles primary impacts are pathogens, PCBs, metals, siltation, dissolved solids, chlorides, and salinity.
Map and Chart 192
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Carey, Daniel I., "Big Sandy/Little Sandy and Tygarts Creek Basins" (2009). Kentucky Geological Survey Map and Chart. 191.