Dependable Water Headed To Rural Stone County

After decades of dealing with rusted pipes and dry wells, neighbors in rural Stone County believe their water problems will soon be a thing of the past. The citizens of the Big Level community are borrowing $3 million from the federal government to help pay for a community water system.

High acid levels in the ground water can wreak havoc on copper pipes. Many people who live in Big Level, like Lorenzo Bond, find that out the hard way.

"It turned everything green... and it sprang some leaks."

Bond switched to PVC pipes. Soon he'll make another change to community water.

"The water table dropped about three years ago," said Bond. "It dropped to about five foot out and if we keep having that problem then we're going to need to be on a water system. It won't be just because we want to, but because we'll have to."

Faye Cooley took on the task of convincing enough neighbors in the area to sign up for community water to get the system running. It wasn't easy. The idea had been rejected four times in the past 60 years.

"A lot of letter writing and sending out," Cooley said. "We did a lot of door to door activity where you actually ask people to sign up."

Some people believe a water system will move the Big Level community forward, including Nick Walters of the Department of Agriculture.

"People are not going to move to a community where they don't have good drinking water and where they don't have reliable drinking water. Something like this community water certainly helps."

When you compare the costs of electricity and maintenance for a well, supporters say the new service is cheap.

"There's nothing better than having good clean water that you know you're going to have day in and day out through hurricane or tornadoes," Cooley said.