ROUGEMONT, N.C. (WNCN) – People living in a small Durham County town are able to drink clean, local water for the first time in decades.
Karen Walker has lived in the small town of Rougemont for a decade and a half. She told CBS North Carolina, “We have not had drinkable water in most of this area due to the contamination issues.”
Back in 1985, leaks from pre-existing underground gasoline storage tanks caused petroleum contamination to the groundwater in downtown Rougemont.
Since that time, many residents have been using bottled water or other well water.
Just within the past few years, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and Durham County officials have stepped in.
“It’s taken all of that time, eight years or so, for all the various government officials to come up with a plan, and then come up with the funding, and then follow through,” Walker said.
After ruling out the possibility of extensions from nearby water systems because of costs, a small, independent, well-fed water system was chosen to address the contamination issues.
“This project is a long time coming,” Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow said.
“To finally be at this point after at least 31 years – this is a remarkable effort,” Mark Petermann, with the Department of Environmental Quality said.
The project, funded by both the county and state, cost $2.6 million.
Now complete, residents and officials got their first taste of the water Thursday morning.
“This now will give Rougemont a chance to give infill development and have a strong village core,” Reckhow said.
This is the first county owned drinking water system in Durham County.