You Just Don’t Touch That Tap Water Unless Absolutely Necessarynpr
People living in the West Virginia border areas tucked back along the rural winding roads fetch cooking water from a local spring. People in Martin County has been living there for decades and their roots are so deep that, even without a reliable clean drinking water supply, they are not ready to leave the county. Besides, they say: ’They do not touch tap water unless absolutely necessary’, which means they use it only in the shower and toilet.
Rockcastle Creek flows past residential homes and businesses along Route 3 in the town of Inez, the county seat of Martin County, Courtesy: NPR
The lack of clean drinking water is a serious issue among Americans across the country, in rural to urban areas. The problem is that the water system is aging, and the infrastructure is crumbling without enough funds to upgrade.
Drinking water is carried through 1 million miles of pipes that were laid in mid 20th century, and these pipes’ lifespan is nearing the end; there are 240,000 water line breaks nationwide, said a 2017 America’s water systems report.
The EPA estimates nearly $400 billion as the cost to fix the issue, and this burden will fall on the people living in that area, which is already one of the poorest counties.
This is the reason the families living in Martin County do not drink tap water and spend $30 on drinking water bottles each week. This is the amount they are spending apart from the regular monthly water bill of $65 used only to flush the toilets and clean.
Some county residents bathe their babies in bottled water to prevent babies from being exposed to the tap water.