The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

Just not cutting it

County, town need to do more to get clean drinking water to the Rogers Road community

Repairing and replacing wells in the Rogers Road area is nowhere close to a sufficient solution to the pressing issue of water contamination.

All residents in this area deserve clean drinking water, and the town and county governments must find a way to make this happen.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners’ unanimous passage of a resolution last week to consider offering no-fault well repair services for the residents who live within 3,000 feet of the Orange County landfill is just another development in a 30-year saga of neglect.

If Orange County and the town of Chapel Hill are serious about ensuring Rogers Road residents have adequate drinking water, then they need to sit down and figure out a way to provide the area with clean water hookups, and they need to do it now.

In 1972, the town of Chapel Hill placed a solid waste landfill close to the historically low-income, black community.

Ever since then, the community has been suffering from the landfill’s negative effects, including contaminated wells, illegal dumping, a putrid stench, rats and vultures.

But the Rogers Road community can’t take advantage of the town’s municipal services to remedy the problems because it lies outside the town’s boundary, even though its water is being contaminated by the town’s solid waste.

Numerous tests have been conducted to determine the toxicity of the neighborhood’s water.

However, until the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to investigate concerns of environmental racism, the issue has received scant governmental action.

The Rogers Road issue has been debated and mulled over for far too long. The town and county’s inaction is pathetic, and so is last week’s resolution.

Offering to fix resident wells in order to ensure that water isn’t contaminated with fecal matter is not a viable long-term solution.

These residents have lived in the area for generations and did not choose to locate next to the county landfill.

It is imperative that Orange County and the town of Chapel Hill work together and come up with a way to provide the entire area with clean water.

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