JACKSON COUNTY, Ala – The town of Pisgah has been dealing with water issues for several years that have resulted in brown, murky and sometimes chunky tap water. Last week one family tried to go through the proper channels to transfer their water service to a nearby town, but they say Pisgah’s town council denied the request.
Jessie Daniel is one of a few residents that have come forward to explain their water experiences. Daniel and his family were the first to try to leave the Pisgah water system. They secured permission from the town of Dutton to transfer to their system at a cost of $500.
“I’ve had two times last week where we had that situation with the dirty water. At the end of the day, we just want clean water and we see an easy fix,” Daniel said.
The town of Pisgah denied the waiver request and instead asked for Dutton to pay Pisgah $50,000 to let the family transfer.
News 19 obtained a recording in which Pisgah councilman Andrew Meeks appears to prematurely threaten to turn off water access to the Daniel family at a town council meeting.
“I would make the recommendation to the mayor that he send the water department there in the morning and turn it off at 8 o’clock,” said Meek. He added, “I’m that way though. I’m looking at this from a business standpoint. Because we got blindsided by a news agency doing this.”
Following these comments, the town declined to let the family off the water system. The town did not shut the family’s water off. The council did not respond to phone calls last week nor emails over the weekend in response to this story.
“If you are getting so upset in a board meeting over somebody just wanting to help their family, I don’t know, you need to backup and punt. Think about the situation,” Daniel said.
Mayor Leamon Smith along with the town clerk both confirmed previously that the town was worried other residents would want to leave the water system if the council let the Daniel’s family leave. The water system is a major source of revenue for the small town.
Despite visually dirty water, both the town of Pisgah and ADEM say the water is safe. Pisgah has secured several grants and has spent more than a million dollars on repairs to the system, according to the town clerk.
ADEM recently made just under $500,000 available to Pisgah to make repairs to the water tank which needs restoration. The tank is believed to have serious sediment buildup. The town clerk says most waterlines have been replaced but still require consistent flushing which disturbs sediment in the lines, likely causing dirty water.
Town officials say many families do not run water frequently which also creates situations where water comes out dirty and then eventually clears up.