GREENSBORO (KDKA) – In once Greene County town, some people keep a bathtub filled with water and a pot of water on the stove – just in case.
And instead of snow days at school, they have “no water” cancellations.
That’s because in Greensboro, residents struggle to get water from the town’s antiquated water system.
The stretch of the Monongahela River along which Greensboro is located, was called “delight” by the indigenous Mingo Tribe. The area has a rich history in glass making, pottery and coal mining.
In the ‘90s, the people living around the area began looking at how they might parlay that history into revitalization. Landmark buildings are being restored, new housing plans are being developed, bed and breakfasts opened up, but the ancient water system is making life miserable.
“And you think you’re good,” Debbie Lane said. “And the water’s back off again for half a day.”
Like most of Greensboro, the water coming out of the Lane family’s kitchen faucet is sometimes brown – or it doesn’t come out at all.
The lanes built their home seven years ago. But over the past year, water service is non-existent a couple of times a month.
“When the kids need to go to school, somebody needs to go to work,” Lane said. “Can’t get a shower, can’t cook sometimes.”
“We’re not pointing fingers or blaming anybody that’s on the water authority,” Lane’s husband Jimmy said. “I think what we want to do is gather this information and get it out to appointed and elected officials.”
“It’s bad, it’s bad, really,” Vic Shine who oversees the Dunkard Valley Water Authority said. “In the last year we’ve had close to 50 water breaks.”
The water lines in Greensboro were last replaced in 1940.
“We’re buying water at the rate of $18,000 a month from another water authority,” Shine said.
And some of that bought water is being lost in the leaky distribution system.
About 20,000 feet of new water lines would cost $1.5 to $2 million.
For 500 customers, footing the bill is staggering.
If this town — that was forged out of the wilderness nearly 300 years ago — is to have a future, the time is now.
“Our plea is, public officials, we need help,” Lane said. “And we need help desperately.”