We come before you today speaking as homeowners and property owners on Bishop Mountain in the Northern part of Marshall County, Alabama in the United States of America.
Over the years, the Marshall County Commission has found ways to help achieve access to a public water system for many communities through grants. We are the last area in Marshall County, Alabama to have public water. Because they have ran water to all other areas, North Marshall Utilities is now larger than the 10,000 population limit for grants. (Although we have been told we should qualify.) The utility can only get loans and can't afford a $1.1 million loan to cover the cost. Residents plan to share in the cost and the utitlities will fund a portion, but that leaves about 25% unfunded.
The Health Department conducted test on several of our wells. Over half of them tested positive for either E Coli or Coliform contamination. Some of our neighbors have drilled multiple wells and still do not have an adequate supply of water. All residents buy bottled water for drinking and food preparation. Some have 50 gallon tanks that they use to get water out of fire hydrants off the mountain. They call the water department and tell them how many gallons they need to pay.
Our main goal is of course clean, safe drinking water. However, an added benefit to this would be enhanced fire protection for both homes and forest.Hebron Volunteer Fire and Rescue do a great job.Their job would be much less complicated if hauling water up the curvy mountain road was not necessary to fight fires.
Access to a public water system would almost certainly spur future development.Many residents still own land on the mountain but moved away because of the water situation. Much of the land has been owned by generations in a family.We are average people. We don't have large homes. We just enjoy the beauty and quiet.
We come before you today seeking help. No one in America should have to haul water to their homes. Every community should have safe drinking water. Our need is great.
Bishop Mountain Residents