Black Residents Of Small Alabama Town Search For Answers As Mounting Water Bills And Issues Put Their Homes At Risk
Black residents in Alabama Village, a small town in the “cotton state” that 19,000 people call home, are calling for the dissolution of a local water and sewage board amid growing concerns over outstanding bills, old pipes, low-system pressure, and outdated water meters.
Capital B News reports the Prichard Water Works and Sewer Board has threatened to use eminent domain to force Alabama Village dwellers out of the neighborhood to recoup losses and drive down debt. However, the area’s longtime residents say they’ve already paid the exorbitant costs associated with years of neglect.
“When you open your water bill, it’s fear because you don’t know what to expect,” Alabama Village resident Severia Campbell Morris said. “Your bill isn’t going to be under $58. It may be $5,000. It’s unbelievable. This city is run by us, and we don’t take care of each other.”
According to the outlet, the residents are requesting a move of their services to the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System, where Prichard Water Works and Sewer Board’s water supply stems. A judge is slated to decide the fate of the town’s utility services and the board on Oct. 10.
Water is not the only infrastructure issue Alabama Village faces. The area, often used as a trash dump for nearby cities, has become a hotbed for crime due to abandoned homes and overgrown weeds and bushes.
“They bring everything over here,” resident Angela Robinson Adams said. “You want to get rid of something, throw it in the Village.” Alabama Village residents like Adams have allegedly hired their own professionals to help get to the bottom of issues in the area, including water pipes long ignored by the neighboring city of Chickasaw that are often directly connected to individual properties.
Ongoing issues in the area have led to bills as high as $7,500 for some residents.