Belmont residents discuss new concerns ahead of transfer to city water

BELMONT, N.C. — Belmont families voiced new concerns to city leaders Monday night now that there are plans in the works for them to be connected to city water.

For nearly a year and a half, families near Duke Energy’s coal ash pits have been forced to drink and cook with bottled water.

Many residents at the meeting hope to form an alliance with city council.

Residents want city leaders on their side of the fight against Duke Energy to get clean water and the coal ash ponds near their homes cleaned up.

“This went on for far too long,” resident Amy Brown said. “It's time for us to be able to get back to a normal life. We want what everybody else has and that's peace of mind.”

Councilman Richard Turner spoke up and called on council to get more involved.

Public comments have started from residents near coal ash ponds asking for cheaper water. @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/Nm1w1YnrGk

The meeting comes after the investigation and now cleanup of Duke Energy's coal ash ponds, including near the Allen Steam Station, which Baker can see from her front yard.
Channel 9 has covered every development in the investigation and cleanup of coal ash ponds, since a toxic coal ash spill in 2014 that led to all Duke Energy coal ash ponds being investigated.

Just within the past few weeks, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law requiring Duke Energy to provide a permanent water supply to all homes within a half-mile of the 14 plants in the state.

In Belmont, that means running city water to several hundred homes with Duke Energy picking up the tab for expanding the system.
But homeowners will pay double the water rate, or an average of $100 a month, because they're outside city limits.
"In order to make up some of the cost difference in case the water and sewer rates don't cover the full cost of providing the service, it is sort of subsidized by the taxes you pay as a city resident," Belmont City Manager Adrian Miller told Channel 9.
The law requires Duke Energy to have a plan in place by December 15 of this year.

The energy giant has to make sure all communities affected have permanent water sources by October 2018.

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