Lucama, a town in Wilson County, has been battling over brown, murky water.
It isn’t alone. Elm City residents are also speaking out.
“We do not drink the water, and to be truthful, if I didn’t have to bathe in it, I wouldn’t,” Jontay Ward-Hargrove said.
Ward-Hargrove buys bottled water for her family in Elm City.
“This is a problem a lot of small towns face,” Town Manager Jonathan Russell said.
Similar to Lucama, Elm City will have high levels of iron and manganese in the water at times.
“As we pump the water out of the ground, it will change over time. That’s what Elm City experienced. The iron levels became elevated,” Envirolink President Mike Myers said.
Myers is contracted through the town of Elm City. His company oversees the wells on a daily basis. It has installed a mobile filter.
“There are residents in Elm City that do experience brownish, or orange water from time to time, but it’s much lower today than it was a few years ago,” he said.
“If we’re paying for the water, it should be right,” Ward-Hargrove said.
Elm City also has received grants to improve the quality of the water.
“It’s something of (a) concern. We’re sympathetic with their concern. Discolored water, no one wants to see that,” Russell said.
Myers told CBS 17 they expect to get a permanent filter on a few of the wells next year, while also working to replace aging pipes.
“It will be an ongoing process to replace the piping network there, but they should see dramatic improvements once the filters get on the wells,” Myers said.
A filter can cost $40,000 to $150,000. Elm City needs three filters at $150,000 a piece, according to Myers.
Concerning the issues in Lucama, a spokesperson from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office told CBS 17 that “families deserve access to clean drinking water. DEQ has issued Lucama a Notice of Deficiency and worked with local officials to fund necessary water infrastructure improvements.”
Lucama is holding an emergency meeting Thursday night.