Southbound lanes of I-65 shut down in Morgan County because of damaged bridge

Clean water groups holding fundraiser Saturday for Courtland free clinic to test residents blood for toxins

COURTLAND, Ala. -- Two north Alabama nonprofits, the Warriors for Clean Water and the Concerned Citizens of North Alabama are hosting a fundraiser Saturday in Courtland.

The proceeds will be used to help pay the costs of establishing a free clinic for area residents to get blood testing conducted by volunteer doctors. The project is driven by the groups’ concerns that area residents health problems are tied to long-term chemical exposure in drinking water and other sources. Two years ago Lawrence County residents received a federal health advisory about their drinking water.

The fundraiser will begin early Saturday morning at the old Courtland High School football stadium.  People who want to donate items to be sold are encouraged to come by. The nonprofits will provide necessary forms to make the items tax-deductible.

“We’re trying to have a yard sale, a car show, bike show, we’re going to have food on hand, fun rides for the kids to ride,” said Brenda Hampton, a Courtland community volunteer.  “All the proceeds there will be going toward doing the building.

The nonprofit groups are trying to help residents, who they believe have been left behind regarding potential health problems.

“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has been in here testing residents in Lawrence County since 1999 and most of those are from the Moulton area, they haven’t been down in this area,” Hampton said.

Hampton delivers hundreds of cases of water a month to area residents with health problems or young children.

“We have a lot of death, a lot of sickness down in this area,” Hampton said. “I’ve showed where there’s been cancer clusters, we’ve had renal failure clusters, we have autism. And that’s just on two streets.”

The clinic in downtown Courtland will be a site for blood serum testing, to identify if residents have levels of toxic exposure. A Huntsville lab told WHNT News 19 in 2016 that testing for the PFOA chemical found in the West Morgan East Lawrence water authority drinking cost about $800 per test.

“It’s very important that we have a place that we can go to do these tests, they’re very expensive,” Hampton said. “We do have some doctors that want to give back on their downtime. They know what to look for. They’ve already experienced this, they’ve seen patients and treated patients with these type illnesses.”

But the building that houses the clinic needs to be brought up to code and renovated.

“It’s going to take some time and we’re trying to raise money,” she said. “We’re trying to keep it at no cost to anybody because it’s a community effort. And we’re asking the people from the community to come out and support it.