Local News

Church Helps Restore Well Water to Edgecombe Flood Victims

Posted May 1, 2000

— It is a tough choice for dozens of flood victims: use relief money to fix their house or clean their fresh water well. One church is making that choice much easier for some people.

There is a little water flowing into Elizabeth Dupree's temporary trailer, but you will not catch her taking a sip. The well out front still is not clean.

"I don't use it for bathing or drinking or doing any kind of cooking or anything, because it is contaminated," says Dupree.

In a few days, her water should be safe again, thanks to help from Saint Catherine's Catholic Church in Tarboro.

Using nearly $70,000 from Catholic Social Ministries in Raleigh, the church is filling a need that, until now, has been put on the back burner.

So many people are fixing their homes that there just is not enough money to clean their wells. Bottled water is still the only option in many cases.

"The people have to go to extreme measures to be able to purchase or procure the water, whether they get it through a donation or what. Living out of bottled water is very difficult," says coordinator Walter Bell.

So far, there is enough money to fix or bypass about 27 wells in Edgecombe County. The church hopes to do more if more money becomes available.

Construction should begin as early as this week.

More than 50 people have applied so far. County health officials say many more will ask for help as residents continue to return to their homes.

The church picks one of three options, depending on where each home is located: attach the home to a main water line, treat the well or dig a new one.

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