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Jacksonville community living without water

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Updated: 10/28/2013 10:54 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's a necessity most people take for granted, but for families living in Jacksonville's Larson neighborhood, fresh water is scarce.

"Uh oh, we got a drip," said Tina Oliver.

That's about all they have.

For eight years, Gary McCormick and his seven-member household have been borrowing water from a neighbor since his well dried up during the drought in 2005, but even that water was filthy. That water was shut off when the neighbor moved out a week ago.

"Now we have no water at all. We have to lug 16 jugs of water every time we need water. It takes two jugs, or 2 gallons, every time we flush the toilet," said McCormick. That means three trips a day to their neighborhood church or the local park to fill up.

"I just find it so unacceptable in 2013 in the middle of Jacksonville," said Councilwoman Lori Boyer for District 5.

Boyer isn't letting this problem slip through the cracks any longer. One of the problems is that she said JEA doesn't have the money to put in new water lines, and it's not in the agency's policy to do so.

"From their perspective, it's not their responsibility, and the city doesn't have an arm or a part of the Public Works Department that has this in their capital improvement budget or their plan," she said.

Boyer said the city can apply for grants or state funding, but that takes time and comes as no immediate relief for these families.

"I challenge somebody else out there from JEA to live a week without water and tell me what I'm going through," said Boyer.

JEA does supply water to 200 people in the Larson neighborhood. The homes on the main roads had water lines built years ago.  Boyer told Action News she plans to meet with JEA and other local constituents next week to figure out how to tackle this issue, and quickly.

JEA provided the following statement on our story:

JEA, its board and city council are aware of the issues in certain areas where using wells for water service and septic tanks for sewer services may no longer be ideal or preferred. It is a challenging topic as the solution is costly.
Many homeowners in our service territory are on wells and septic systems. JEA welcomes the opportunity to connect new customers to our system. In doing so, as is standard in the industry, there is a cost to build the infrastructure to connect new customers. Typically homeowners or developers incur the cost to bring the system to areas currently on septic systems or wells, or where a system does not exist.
There are many variables when connecting to water and sewer services. Typically a customer (either an individual or a developer) applies for service, availability is ascertained and if there is availability, the appropriate fees are paid (capacity, tap and meter fees).

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

millerplante - 10/28/2013 10:41 PM
0 Votes
To avoid expensive repairs on your home and clean up the environment at the same time, use the natural cleaners for septic system clogging, plumbing and water supply maintenance like the all-natural Advanced Formula Septic-Helper 2000, Enza Drain Line Cleaner and the Enza Washer Ball for your laundry. In 2011, the EPA (TMDL), mandates that states and counties clean up their water supplies. It mandates new inspections on all septic systems, water wells and with funding, local waterways. A failed inspection would include a slow drain in your leach field, low septic tank bacteria levels or elevated Nitrate levels in your Water Well or local Water Supplies; could require replacement of your entire system for $10K to $80K+ or connect to the city sewer system for $5K to $40K. The new inspections are failing 12% of systems each year and 82% of those older than 1977.

kmproffitt - 10/28/2013 2:22 PM
0 Votes
That wouldn't help if they had these people are on well/septic it would cost them thousands to have jea come out and run water lines to their houses

FlaLady1126 - 10/28/2013 1:54 PM
0 Votes
As JEA stated, with most utility companies across the Nation, usually the homeowner applies and PAYS for the connection and service. Has the person in this story done than and been turned down?
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