This is so unfair! Everyone deserves clean and safe drinking water. Think that this couldn’t be a problem here in Mecklenburg County? Think again. Share this information with your friends and neighbors. Send it to your County Commissioner and ask that they take action to correct this.
Here’s a story about residents in Mint Hill from a re-post of an email from our environmental partner Clean Water for NC:
Food and Water Watch just released a new guide called “How US Communities Can Secure Local Public Control of Privately Owned Water and Sewer Systems.“ The guide is designed to help local communities go through the steps to attempt to put privately owned water and sewer systems back in the hands of nearby public entities (like towns, cities or counties). Some of the success stories are an inspiration, even though we all know that we face especially large hurdles here in North Carolina, with the Utilities Commission heavily favoring Aqua NC, and with Aqua America’s reputation of fighting back against being forced to sell systems that the company sees as profitable.
Meanwhile, here at Clean Water for NC our summer research intern, Cooper Eben, is finishing up a report on North Carolina’s water/sewer utility policies (especially when it comes to acquisition of small systems) and how it differs from policies in other states. We hope this information will be another useful piece of the puzzle for North Carolinians like you who are working for water and sewer service to be affordable and for those who control it to be accountable to the public, not to investors!
In addition to being upset about the high bills they receive from Aqua NC, residents in the Ashe Plantation neighborhood in Mint Hill have troubles with water quality – episodes of brown water from the wells Aqua maintains appear to result from high manganese and iron levels. Late last week the water took a turn for the worse and one of the neighborhood’s wells had to be shut off. Neighbors have worked to get answers by calling Aqua NC, and when the response took too long, they called NC Public Water Supply, the state agency regulating water quality, and also reached out to local news channels to raise awareness of their issue. Here are the recent news stories:
Aqua NC tries to clean its water and image (Fox News Charlotte, Aug. 7)
Residents fed up with dirty Aqua NC water (Fox News Charlotte, Aug. 2)
Some Mint Hill neighbors say they’re dealing with dirty water (WSOC TV)
We’ve heard from some of you in other parts of the state recently asking about similar problems with water quality or billing. Please feel free to contact me by phone (828-251-1291 or toll-free 1-800-929-4480) or e-mail if your community would like advice on a strategy to get Aqua to respond to your concerns more quickly. Recent efforts in the greater Charlotte area have also met with some initial success at bringing together multiple neighborhoods to work together for just treatment from Aqua; if you’re interested in helping to organize a similar multi-community regional meeting in your area, please let us know and we’re happy to help!
Yours for water justice,
Katie Hicks, Assistant Director & Water Justice Campaign organizer