NEW DETAILS: Morgan, Lawrence County leadership given “no notice” about water situation

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DECATUR, Ala. – Questions continue to swirl for people who get water in parts of Morgan and Lawrence counties — and today, more confusion arose.

Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long said board members of the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority and the West Lawrence Water Co-op handled the situation poorly when they told customers on Thursday not to drink the water until further notice.

Long said no one from the commission was notified before the announcement came out.

“We weren’t given proper notice to prepare for any type of emergency,” said Long.

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Lawrence County Commissioner Bobby Burch said it was the same for him -- no one in his county received a heads-up, either.

"This was the decision of the water board. It was not the decision of any state agency," said Burch.

Everyone in attendance, including from the Morgan and Lawrence County Commission, and Decatur Mayor Don Kyle, said they would have no problem drinking the water themselves.

"I am very frustrated that the water board that I appoint three members to, chose to go out and created panic in two counties," said Long.  "We're not going to panic into something, but the two I've talked to know I'm not happy about this... we'll have a meeting soon to discuss this.  I don't want anyone serving on one of my boards that doesn't take this kind of thing seriously."

Meanwhile, the advisory remains in effect for people who get water from these systems.

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Attorney Carl Cole, who represents WMEL and the citizens affected, admitted to WHNT News 19 the water authority could have done better communicating with community leaders. But he insists they did the right thing by acting fast.

"The thing people need to understand is... The EPA actually said in their advisory, to reduce risk, seek an alternative water source," he said "That's what Don Simms did. He wanted to move quickly after the decision was made."

He said "the science is well documented" about the health problems PFOS and PFOA can cause. "Don Simms did the right thing by moving quickly, and they'll just have to catch up."

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