Battle over water, community wants more free bottles from Duke Energy

- A group of neighbors in a small community in Rowan County are asking a big company for some help. Duke Energy continues to provide some residents living near coal ash ponds free water, but some residents are buying their own.

We often take it for granted, access to clean drinking water.

"It's very frustrating. You think we live in a 3rd world country," said Kenya Morgan.

Hundreds of people living in the community of Dukeville feel bottled water is their only safe source of H2O.

"It becomes a necessary thing that you have to do everyday especially when I have 4 children," said Jeremiah Jones.

To help ease the burden, Duke Energy has been providing people with free bottled water after groundwater became contaminated from nearby coal ash ponds. The Problem is that the free water is only available to those who had their well tested by the state.

"People continue to call me asking for water. They can't continue to pay for water for their families," said resident Deborah Graham.

"The water truck stops right beside my house, then the water truck goes past the house, then it stops 2 houses up from me. That's every 2 weeks," said Jeremiah Jones.

Jones lives alone and tells says he's been out of work for about a year due to an injury. He and hundreds of others lined up on Friday to grab more than 3,000 gallons of free water. It was donated by a local bottling company.

"I am spending anywhere from 40 to 70 dollars a week on water," said Kenya Morgan, who does not receive free water from Duke Energy.

Morgan says her family of four uses bottled water for cooking, cleaning and even brushing their teeth. She believes all the people effected by the water problem should get free water.

Other neighbors agree.

"I am asking Duke Energy to please provide water to all families in the Dukeville community that are within the half a mile boundary of a coal ash basin," said Deborah Graham.

Residents say they would like to see a permanent solution, like being added to city water, discussed soon. They say they can't live off bottled water forever.

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