MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)– Questions remain about the quality of the water coming from the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority, after a directive not to drink it.
“The EPA has graver concerns about it after May 19 than they did before,” explained Carl Cole, an attorney representing the water authority and the people impacted by the chemicals PFOA and PFOS found in the water. “We believe those concerns are going to continue to grow.”
Still, elected officials in Morgan and Lawrence Counties aren’t so sure the risk is as great as Cole and the water authority make it sound.
“I’m going to continue what I’ve been doing. I’m going to drink,” said Trinity mayor Vaughn Goodwin.
While he and other leaders have made the personal decision to do that, they acknowledge that people they represent are concerned. They’ve been working on a plan to help get people water deemed safe to drink.
“We’re working with the Food Bank of North Alabama that is going to provide water, donations of water, to the citizens,” said Eddie Hicks, Morgan County EMA Director. He added that fire departments will also start water distribution next week.
Those departments are:
- Danville VFD at 5796 Hwy 36 W in Danville
- Mud Tavern VFD at 2278 Kirby Bridge Road in Decatur
- Neel VFD at 70 Neel School Road in Danville
- Punkin Center VFD at 672 Kirby Bridge Road in Danville
- Massey VFD at 386 Evergreen Road in Falkville
The distribution will begin Monday at 4 p.m. and will continue on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon and 4-7 p.m. You’re asked to bring a copy of your water bill. You’ll receive one gallon per person.
Some communities are turning to other water sources outside of West Morgan East Lawrence to serve them. Trinity Mayor Vaughn Goodwin said they’re working on connecting to Decatur Utilities. He said crews spent Friday flushing lines, then comes chlorine, and testing. “If all goes to plan, we’re looking at Monday to try to make the switch,” he said, citing that some Trinity residents may see water delays or pressure problems Monday while the transition is taking place.
Decatur mayor Don Kyle said Decatur Utilities has the capacity to serve the affected communities, assuming there’s infrastructure to get water there.
Lawrence County Commission Chairman Bobby Burch added that a mutual effort between the City of Moulton Water Works Board and the West Lawrence Water Co-Op began to expand their service areas. He said as of Friday afternoon’s press conference, 500 homes and businesses have been moved from WMEL.
Admittedly, it’s not a quick process putting these plans into place. You’re advised to still buy or use bottled water if you’re concerned until the water authority’s temporary and long-term solutions along with the distribution plans take effect.