Cool, clear water: Help on the way for Saltwell residents

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 13, 2004

Fresh water is one of the most valuable commodities in the world, especially when drinking water that smells like rotten eggs. Go past Gulf States Paper Mill and turn left on to HWY 28 and then make a right and you’ve entered the community of Saltwell and this is what they’ve had to deal with for quite some time.

Well thanks to the Marengo County Commission, things are about to change for these residents. The Manager of Community Block Grants Shabbir Olia from ADECA said the water grant was awarded on November 20, 2003. Marengo County received $350,000 in order to run water to the community of Saltwell.

“They were awarded $350,000 to complete this project,” Olia said.

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Olia said after they were awarded the grant they now have 70-80 days to complete the paperwork. Commissioner Max Joiner said that all the paperwork for the water grant was signed and returned to ADECA on Tuesday.

“I’m very happy we received this grant for Saltwell. They’ve lived with bad water for way to long now,” Joiner said.

Olia also said that the construction of this project could take anywhere from three to six months to complete. Also during the construction phase, they can request more money if needed.

“The project has a span of three to six months and after the construction is finished. They have to fill out federal paperwork to close out the grant,” Olia said.

Two local residents of the Saltwell community Dave Fluker and Peggy Inge were very excited when they found out the news about finally getting some good, clean, and safe water to drink.

Dave Fluker has never drunk a glass of water from his own faucet. He said that the water is so bad that he doesn’t drink it; he only uses it to wash his truck sometimes.

According to Fluker, if he pours a glass of water and leaves it to sit out for a while, when he comes back the impurities can be skimmed off the top. He said he knows the water is contaminated and that is why he refuses to drink it.

Fluker loves to drink water and will be glad when he can finally stop buying bottled water to drink. He will be happy when the project is finished.

“Bottled water is more expensive then soft drinks like Coke-Cola and Pepsi. It just doesn’t make since,” Fluker said.

Peggy Inge said the water is so bad that she has to go to her mother’s house to get water and to take showers. She also said that going to the bathroom a complex matter.

“You don’t even want to know about what we do when we go to the bathroom,” Inge said.

Inge and her neighbor share an old U.S. Army water transporter, other wise known as a ‘Water Buffalo’ to store their drinking water. Inge said that sometimes the water sits in the buffalo to long and it gets rust in it, but she would rather drink the rust water than the water they currently have.

“The water gets rusty but it is better than the water now, so oh well,” Inge said.

She was very excited when she heard about getting the new fresh water.

“I can’t wait. I hate having to mess with going somewhere every time I need some water,” Inge said.