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County water causing concern for commission

There are residents in Marengo County who have severe problems accessing clean, "potable water," said Marengo County Commissioner Max Joiner. "We owe them something."

Water needs in the county were discussed at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Marengo County Commission.

Joiner had recently met with John D. Harrison, the new director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). "It was a very productive meeting," he said.

Joiner was concerned about water problems on old Highway 80 and County Road 13 in the western portion of the county. Water had been provided weekly in county tanker trucks since before Christmas, Joiner said, and the situation is not getting any better. "In that particular area, the wells are just unusable."

Joiner asked ADECA for $250,000 in emergency funds. "I didn’t get a yea, and I didn’t get a nea." Harrison was responsive to the problems certain residents have in Marengo County, the commissioner said.

If ADECA funds do not become available, Joiner said the county would have to address the problem by 2004. "They have got to have some help," he said.

State politicians often decry the lack of water, said commissioner Freddie Armstead. "They say, ‘nobody should be without water,’ and then come right around and can’t find funds. That’s a sad situation.

Commissioner John Crawford Jr. also mentioned water problems on Rangeline Road. "The water just reeks of sulfur," he said.

The town of Myrtlewood has agreed to take on a $2.5 million water project which could supply water for northwest county residents who need water, Joiner said. "This project is going to incorporate everything that is not taken care of (by) Demopolis and other cities," said commissioner Ken Tucker.

A Hugo water project is already underway to help residents in east and southeast portions, county engineer Ken Atkins said after the commission meeting.

After the Hugo and western projects are completed, only the McKinley community northeast of Thomaston will remain as an area in need of a water project, Atkins said.