LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. - It's been two years since dangerous chemicals were found in the Lawrence County drinking water. The residents are still worried about the quality of the water supply and many believe it's killing them. Many of them tell us state officials continue to ignore their concerns.
We've asked the Governor and Attorney General several times about the drinking water in Lawrence County. The response has been limited.
We reached out to Attorney General Steve Marshall's office a week ago to get a response on the water quality situation. We wanted to know if the AG's office would consider pursuing litigation like Minnesota did when its water was contaminated with PFOA and PFOS. A spokesperson for the AG's office responded a week later after we sent them our investigation. He told us that the Attorney General generally doesn't comment on potential litigation. However, he said he would try to get us answers by the end of the week.
Governor Kay Ivey told us earlier this year she'd consider getting involved with the issue later down the road. We reached out to her office a week before we aired our Taking Action Investigation. We didn't get a response. Tuesday morning we sent her office and campaign our report from Tuesday night. Still no response.
Walt Maddox, her opponent in the race for Governor, tells us the state of Alabama has a historic response of ignoring environmental catastrophes. The Democratic candidate says that will change if he is elected. Maddox supports state-funded blood tests for those in Lawrence County. He also believes those responsible for the contaminated water should be held accountable.
More than 3,400 people are in the Facebook group 'Concerned Citizens of WMEL Water Authority.' Brenda Hampton formed the community grassroots effort after PFOA and PFOS were found in the water supply in 2016.
"We were brought up on the idea that if we drank at least a gallon a day... our kidneys would be alright," explained Hampton.
Hampton says she is confident the Lawrence County drinking water is costing lives.
"My mother died from renal failure. My grandmother died from renal failure. My grandfather died from renal failure. I currently have a sister that is on dialysis. I have a brother that needs to go on dialysis. And me, myself, I have been on second stage dialysis," said Hampton.
Ernest Nance played for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Eleven years later, the former linebacker can't walk.
"We're dying slowly. We're dying here," said Nance.
He blames the drinking water. Nance is afraid to brush his teeth with the water. But when money is tight, he and his family are forced to drink water from the faucet.
"America is supposed to be a great place to live. There's still little parts of the country that is like the third world. And that people haven't even came to aid us. People don't even know about Courtland's situation with the water," said Nance.
Those who live in Lawrence County just want someone elected to represent them to take their concerns seriously.
To those elected to represent the 33,000 residents in Lawrence County -- Are you listening? And will you help them?