Local News

N.C. Democratic chair taking heat for residents' discolored water

Posted July 15, 2010 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2010 6:58 p.m. EDT

— Far from Raleigh and state politics is Eden Glen Mobile Home Park in Buncombe County. Residents complain their water often comes out with a rusty tint.

The water dispute bubbled beyond the mobile homes primarily because the owner of the park is David Young, a former Buncombe County commissioner and the current chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

He has drawn criticism from the families who live in the mobile home park.

“It makes me mad because they won't do nothing,” said resident Dewayne Purvis. His wife, Renee, said she cleans, cooks and showers with the water but said there is one thing she won’t use it for.

“We do not drink this water whatsoever,” she said. “We're like low class, middle class people and it’s like (Young) don't care.”

Western North Carolina media, columnists and bloggers have also taken Young to task.

Young argues that he does care. He declined an on-camera interview, but by phone and e-mail his family contends they've been working on a water solution since last year.

, the management company which runs Eden Glen, sought permits to install a filtration system. For years, residents weren't charged extra for their water. Then, months ago, water bills started going out.

The problem is the filtration system still wasn't approved, so they were asked to pay extra for orange water. Young admits that was a mistake, and the billing was suspended.

“If you take a bath you have to let it run for maybe five minutes. Then it will come out clear like that,” said Dewayne Purvis.

State records show past monitoring problems with the water, but no serious safety issues from recent years. Regulators say the discoloration is caused by high iron content, which may not look so good, but isn't considered a health hazard.

Young says the filtration system should be approved and fully operational soon. Until then, the Democratic leader and landlord takes the heat.

“I don't care whose fault it is. They just need to clean it up,” said Renee Purvis.

The North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement about Young's mobile home park, saying that it's "a business matter that is being properly addressed by Asheville Property Management and the Youngs. While some will attempt to politicize this situation for their narrow personal gain, our Party will maintain its focus on fighting for the working families of North Carolina."