WMEL Water Authority reacts to state's declaration that water is safe

Updated: Jun. 24, 2016 at 4:30 PM CDT
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MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - One day after Governor Bentley's office released a statement declaring the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority's water is safe to drink the WMELWSA's legal team reacted to findings released by the state.

New test results show the levels of two dangerous compounds in the water are greatly reduced. The WMEL legal team's press release does not specifically say that the utility is lifting its recommendation that people refrain from drinking or cooking with their water.

What it does say is they are pleased that Alabama Department of Public Health has taken them off of advisory systems.

A second round of tests by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management shows the levels PFOA and PFOS, two perfluorinated compounds, are undetectable.

ADEM also reported that testing showed the levels were under the EPA's advisory level before the blending with Decatur Utilities water began at 36 to 52 percent of the threshold.

MORE: Governor gives all-clear for drinking water across Lawrence, Morgan counties

Courtland residents had a mixed reaction when asked if they will resume drinking their tap water.

Some said they are unsure if they believe it's safe, but they just can't afford to buy more bottled water. Others said they don't think anything is seriously wrong with the water.

Some, like Brenda Hampton, said they don't trust that government officials are coming clean about the situation.

"In the beginning, they told us one story, that they were going to take four months to get us a quick fix for the situation. And then we know the pipes are contaminated. They haven't done that and I don't think just swish-swashing the water over a period of days is going to solve the situation," Hampton said.

Concerned Citizens of WMEL Water Authority, a grassroots group, is still taking and distributing bottled water donations. To find out more, go to their Facebook page.

They are also holding another meeting this Sunday. Anyone can come. It's at the Rudy McCarley Center in Courtland, from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The press release from WMELWSA states the following:

WMELWSA has recently been mixing its processed water with water provided by another system in order to come up with a temporary solution to the PFC pollution problem. We have been removed from the Alabama Public Health Department health advisory list through this temporary solution. We are pleased the initial temporary plan is working. Once our charcoal purification system is operational in September of this year, we hope to have a more reliable and locally operated means to provide water to all of our customers. Ultimately, the PFOS and PFOA problem must be addressed through implementation of a permanent RO system that will take over three years to construct. In the meantime, WMELWSA will continue to work to make its water meet standards and health advisories established by the State of Alabama and the EPA.

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