Columbia, Tenn. – Mt. Pleasant residents continue to be frustrated by poor water quality and financially strained by high sewer bills, was the response from many SOCM members to Wednesday’s notice that they need to boil their water before using it.
“It looks like they’ll be doing brisk business in bottled water for the next few days,” commented SOCM member and Mt. Pleasant resident Dwight Green. SOCM members like Green, and a large percentage of the residents of Mt. Pleasant, continue to call on state and local officials to demonstrate that their water supply is actually safe to drink. They’re not so sure. The boil water notice issued this week by the City of Mt. Pleasant in response to high turbidity levels is a stark reminder for residents there that something is wrong. But a lack of information and recurring instances of boil water notices (the last notice being issued in April of 2012) only leaves people with questions and mistrust.
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 problem for public health generally there. “Mt. Pleasant water scares me,” says SOCM member and Mt. Pleasant resident Mickie Cannon. “I am paying a $100 (monthly) bill and I’m afraid of the water.” In a town with the highest percentage of school children in the county 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.