Safe drinking water coming to Gray's Creek area in Cumberland Co. with Fayetteville PWC partnership

Monique John Image
Friday, April 12, 2024
Fay PWC, Cumberland Co. partner to bring clean water to Gray's Creek
PWC and Cumberland County officials held a press conference Friday launching a major project to bring clean drinking water to Gray's Creek.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville Public Works Commission (PWC) and Cumberland County officials announced a major project on Friday to bring clean drinking water to Gray's Creek, a neighborhood exposed to forever chemicals.

PWC is expanding its current water system to provide source water and service as part of the agreement, starting with Gray's Creek Elementary and Alderman Road Elementary.

"This is a long-term effort," said Timothy Bryant, the CEO/General Manager of Fayetteville PWC. "This is not something that is going to happen next week or next month. But we have all the makings to make this happen right now to bring water to this region in a very timely manner."

This will impact about 75,000 people. Debra Stewart who attended the press conference says she's been living in Gray's Creek since 1980.

"It's tough," Stewart said. "I already know PFAs is in my blood. The damage is already done, and still being done. They're gonna provide clean water. I'll probably never see clean blood in my lifetime."

Mike Watters, a staunch advocate for clean water, says he credits the county and PWC for Friday's milestone after the forever chemicals being found in Gray's Creek back in 2017, and the Chemours settlement of 2019.

"When you look at 2019, 2020, 2021, we're only three years removed from major money being applied. So that's not bad."

However, Watters acknowledges he's also dealing with health problems that he believes stem from his water.

"23 years in Special Forces an enemy couldn't kill me. But my water did."

The announcement comes two days after the EPA announced a new national standard to limit PFAS also known as 'forever chemicals' in drinking water.

The rule is the first national drinking water limit on toxic PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are widespread and long-lasting in the environment.