Water is still the talk of the town in Pittsville.
It was a packed house at Wednesday night’s budget meeting and public hearing. While there weren’t many issues raised with the budget, residents had plenty of concerns about the ongoing issues with water quality in the town.
Joe Mangini, the town’s manager, tells 47 ABC it’s pretty evident that the plant is past its life expectancy. “I am of the opinion that we are probably looking at a new plant,” says Mangini.
“Some days it’s clear and some days it’s not. They don’t feel like they’re getting the answers they should get from the town,” says Mary Ashanti, President of the Wicomico County NAACP.
They were hoping they would finally get some answers. “It’s getting ridiculous. We’re not really getting straightforward answers,” says Ivory Smith, a Pittsville resident.
Residents tell 47 ABC the problems have been going on way too long. They say if it’s not fixed and fixed soon, history could repeat itself and something really bad could happen.
“Do we want another Flint Michigan or something of that nature? Do we want things that are happening on the other part of the Eastern Shore? Do we want it to happen? No,” says Smith.
But the town insists they are working on things. “We are working on it. Unfortunately it’s a situation where once we get the problem solved it seems to come back,” says Mangini.
Officials tell 47 ABC they’re doing all they can to fix problems that stem from Pittsville’s past.
“I am going to say in the past I don’t think the plant was cared for enough. I think it was always a Band-Aid approach to fix this or fix that and not really put in the capital money to make the major improvements that needed to be done,” says Mangini
But residents still aren’t satisfied, saying it’s already taken too long and the health of residents is being put at risk.
“You have senior citizens out here that don’t have adequate drinking water. What are you doing for them? You have ladies that are just having babies that need water for their babies. What are you going to do?”
For now, residents tell me they will continue to voice their concerns until something is done to permanently fix the problem.
Senator Mary Beth Carozza also released a statement in regards to the water issue in Pittsville. She says she and other lawmakers are working on the problem and the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) is making a site visit on Thursday to hopefully help in resolving concerns.
Mangini says a typical water plant lasts about 20 to 25 years, but Pittsville’s is almost 30 years old. He says a new plant will likely cost about $2 million. Mangini tells 47 ABC the majority of the money for a new plant would hopefully come from the MDE, grants and water/sewer impact fees that are in a reserve.