Local News

Dirty Water Leaves Henderson Woman Demanding Action

Posted March 11, 2003 4:45 a.m. EST

— A Vance County woman hopes to get clean city water after a year of water filled with sandy grit.

Monday night, Vance County Commissioners agreed that the problem needs immediate attention.

WRAL has been following the county's water problems since April of 1999. Resident Viola Brown said it's time to resolve the issue.

Whenever the 84-year-old Brown turns on the tap, something other than just water swirls around in her glass.

"Yes, I have drunk some," she said. "But I quit drinking it."

Brown's neighbor, Sylvia Allyn, said the gritty problem is worse in Brown's bathroom.

"If anything is in your water," she said, "it will settle out in the back of the tank.

"That's just unreal, for anybody to have to put up with on a day-to-day basis, to live with something like that."

Brown's been living with the sandy grit for a year now -- for as long as she's been on city water. Before then, Brown and her neighbors used wells.

The state has discovered that water was filled with carcinogens, possibly from closed landfills that border the area along Highway 39 north of Henderson. Now all the residents are hooked up on city lines, and Brown is the only one still complaining.

According to the Vance County manager, water lines leading up to Brown's home test clean. But tests of the water inside show particles of iron dust and coal-like material.

Allyn spoke at a commissioner's meeting Monday night demanding action.

"Not 30 days," she said. "Not 60 days. But right now."

Commissioners voted to provide free bottled water and send a plumber to fix problems they might find in Brown's home.

Vance County leaders plan to ask the state for grant money to help pay for repairs to Brown's home. State funds were also used to replace the well-water system with city water.

Resolution won't come soon enough for Brown.

"I'm hoping they'll get rid of it," she said.