Several neighbors in communities in Boone County are at their boiling point about water issues they tell me they’ve been experiencing for a couple of years.
I met one Sylvester resident at a church in the town. She turned on the water for me. It dripped, slowly, from the faucet.
I said, “Is that normally what you see?”
Heather Vereen answered, “If we have water, yeah”
Vereen said she never really knows for sure when she’ll have enough water or water pressure to bathe her children, do the laundry or dishes, or clean her home. Take last week for instance. Heather’s daughter is active in school sports. She had a big event.
“We get home and we have no water, so she can’t shower after her cross country meet,” Vereen said. “We wake up Sunday and we have no water.”
She said the issues began a couple of years ago. They began in Sylvester, she said, and then began to spread to Whitesville, just down the road. Numerous calls into the Boone-Raleigh PSD by affected neighbors, she added, haven’t provided much, if any information.
“They’ve written letters,” she said. “They’ve called. They’ve left messages. People have called the Attorney General’s Office. I’ve personally called the Governor’s Office.”
Vereen said the board of the PSD blames an old, outdated system. One that they’re attempting to replace, but she said once they began to fix it– “We’re going days or weeks without water.”
Sylvester is a coal community through and through. Vereen’s husband works in the mines.
She said, “He’d come home from work covered in nasty coal mine stuff and I’d be like, ‘Look, there’s no water, you’re going to have to go back to work.’ So he doesn’t even come home anymore to shower. He just assumes we don’t have water.”
Then on Tuesday night, neighbors said they saw that a West Virginia American Water water buffalo had been dropped off in one of their church’s parking lots- a water buffalo they say does not fix or help the problem.”
“You cant use your shower with a water buffalo,” she said, adamantly. “You can do laundry or run a dishwasher with a water buffalo.
Meantime, Vereen and her neighbors who chose not to be on camera say they’re still paying their water bills and they’re hopeful things will change. Until then, they said they’re not backing down.
“Like I told my husband, I said, ‘I’m not going to stop until we have water.'”
An employee with the Raleigh-Boone PSD Wastewater Treatment Plant said he would be emailing me a statement addressing the issues in the town of Sylvester. So far, I have not received that email.
We’ll keep you updated.