Columbia, Tenn. – Citizens in the Maury County town of Mt. Pleasant are expressing their growing outrage over widespread accounts of contaminated drinking water. Members of the Maury County Chapter of SOCM and other Mt. Pleasant residents say they have had enough of poor water quality and the financial strain of sky-high water and sewer bills. After local children fell ill with bacteria-related sickness during the most recent boil water order (issued January 16-18), local citizens are calling on the state to take its regulatory responsibilities seriously by investigating the safety of city’s water supply and taking the necessary steps to ensure public health.
On Thursday, SOCM members and allies from Mt. Pleasant presented state officials with 100+ formal water quality complaint forms during a Valentine’s Day visit to the Columbia Field Office of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
“The people of Mt. Pleasant feel that clean water is a basic human right that we pay for and deserve,” said Mt. Pleasant resident and SOCM member Tiffany Boyd. “We are urging state officials to ensure that changes are made to protect the health and safety of the residents of this community.” Tiffany’s daughter four-year-old daughter Mia was recently featured in a news story by Nashville’s News Channel 5 after she contracted gastroenteritis from drinking the city water, they say.
As a measure to protect the health of their families, many people in Mt. Pleasant stopped using tap water several years ago and only use bottled water. They see the city’s water as a serious threat to their health, and as a public health crisis for the town and county.
“Mt. Pleasant water scares me,” says SOCM member and Mt. Pleasant resident Mickie Cannon. “I am paying a $100 per bill and I’m afraid of the water.”
In a town with the highest percentage in the county of school children who are on free and reduced lunch plans, most people in the community find it difficult to purchase the amount of bottled water they need, in addition to the water they already pay for through the city. Residents feel that their high bills, a product of sewer rates that are more than double those of other towns in the area, add insult to injury.
SOCM looks forward to working with city and state officials in the coming weeks and months to shift the economic and health burdens away from the people of Mt. Pleasant. Residents of this community should not pay for the mistakes of contractors, corporations, and past city administrations.