Water crisis causing added stress for sick, elderly residents

Published: Jun. 5, 2016 at 11:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2016 at 6:49 AM CDT
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COURTLAND, AL (WAFF) - Thousands of residents are trying to figure out how to get by after learning that their water is not safe to drink. But adding to their stress is some confusion after the governor released a statement saying that the water is safe after the West Morgan - East Lawrence Water Authority says it is not.

A Courtland resident, who is already battling health issues, says the water issue is the last thing he needs.

Read: Chemicals in water cause major health ailments

Ray Pennington, 77, suffers from kidney problems, heart problems, and breathing issues. He says hearing about this water crisis is also causing so much stress because he's so ill.

He says his biggest issue now is trying to find water in Courtland, because it has been so scarce. He says at his age and with his health, he's fearful for his life.

"I think it's a possibility it could kill me with the kidney thing," he said. "And I was reading on the Internet it may affect your breathing as well and I've already got a problem there. So it's pretty scary."

Pennington is not the only one. Many people are wondering how they will make it from day to day.

"It's been hell," said Courtland resident Sheila Harvel.

Harvel believes the crisis is becoming very costly for residents like herself.

"That's something I could spend on something else," she said. "You can't go to the refrigerator and get ice. You can't do nothing accept go get milk and bottled water."

For Harvel, hearing both sides of the crisis is unsettling.  But she is doing what she can to get answers that will keep her community safe and bring it back to normal.

"I want it fixed and I'd like to see truckloads of water come in here especially to get to these people who can't afford it and the ones that are home-bound and can't get up and go get it," said Harvel.

The general manager for the water authority says that a long-term solution may take some time to reach, but customers could see improvements by September.

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