Here in America, there are so many things we take for granted. Clean drinking water is one of those things.
Imagine being told that the water coming out of your kitchen faucet is polluted or poisoned? It happens far too often, when old private wells go bad or an outside influence makes the water unhealthy.
Now imagine having to get your water from a bottle or jug, every day, for months — even years.
Clean drinking water was a major factor in two front page stories last week in the Daily Journal.
Richmond County officials announced the final phase a project to bring public water lines to properties along Fox Road, in an area where the ground water was contaminated by pesticides.
And last Thursday morning, third graders at L.J. Bell Elementary School got a chance to get their hands wet in observance of World Water Monitoring Day. Students took a field trip to study techniques of water monitoring, and learn about the benefits of having easy access to clean and healthy drinking water.
Perhaps if we had more educational programs like that, we could instill at a very early age the value of maintaining good water resources. And, maybe, less people would take for granted something so basic but so very important to our lives.
The folks who live on Fox Road near U.S. 1, east of Rockingham, know all about the value of clean drinking water.
Several years ago, the drinking water on Fox Road was found to be contaminated with a chemical known as 1,2-DBCP or 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane, according to the Environmental Health Office of the Richmond County Health Department. The contamination was deemed to be from peach orchard pesticides, according to County Manager Rick Sago.
The county government set out to help those people and get public water lines out to that area.
Phase I of the project stretched about 8 miles and covered about 111 residents, although not all of them had contaminated wells. Phase II will begin next month, according to Ben Clawson, project manager with Municipal Engineering. By next spring, all residents of Fox Road will be on the county water system.
“Richmond County will only be responsible for approximately 1 percent of the total cost, not the standard 10 percent that we are accustomed to cost-sharing,” said Public Works Director Bryan Land. “This is almost unheard of for a project of this magnitude and speaks volumes to the teamwork and many hours of sweat equity that goes into these projects, not just from Richmond County, but also Municipal Engineering and the numerous state funding agencies that were involved in making the dream of county water to the residents of the Fox Road area a dream come true.”
There has been some criticism of county officials, with the implication they were showing favoritism to the folks on Fox Road while other homeowners on other remote roads requesting connection to the county water system have gone without.
But it comes down to need, and what is right.
“Those people on Fox Road didn’t ask to have their wells contaminated,” said Sago. “They didn’t move to a place where wells were contaminated on purpose, so they needed to have new water lines.”