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Catawba County

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The Other Side of the Fence: Claremont Neighborhood Split by Water Privatization

Summer, 2011

If you ask one group of residents in Country Valley Mobile Home Park in Catawba County about their drinking water, they say it’s great-tasting well water and they don’t pay a bill for it. Go a few doors
down, however, and you’ll hear a different story.

Aqua NC has a deal with the developer which allows the private company to sell water and wastewater to customers in one portion of the development. These residences are connected to a different well than the one serving the remainder of the neighborhood, and they pay Aqua NC’s statewide rate of $15.18 per month plus a usage fee. “We can’t even drink the water; it smells like chemicals,” said Susan, a longtime resident. “Plus we pay a $63 flat fee each month for sewer. Bills are often over $100, and once I was charged $300 before anyone figured out there was a leak!”

A glance at the neighorhood’s water quality report indicates that lead, copper, and some organic contaminants like ethylbenzene and xylenes have been detected in the water supply at low levels. Susan and her neighbors feel it’s unfair that they pay high bills for low-quality water. Most of them were unable to attend the recent hearings on Aqua NC’s proposed rate increase, but CWFNC will continue to be in touch to ensure they get a response from the NC Utilities Commission and state drinking water regulators.