At tomorrow night’s meeting, Asheville City Council will consider a deal with Buncombe County to provide municipal water to 129 households around the former CTS of Asheville site, where groundwater contamination remains an ongoing problem.
The county is seeking a $3 million loan from the state to finance the extension of the water lines, while the city agrees to waive a total of $152,670 in fees. The new water accounts will generate an estimated $33,901 annually for the city’s system. Since a number of wells in the area were found to have extremely high levels of trichloroethylene, a suspected carcinogen, many residents have called for the extension of municipal water throughout the area to ensure an uncontaminated supply. Last year, the former CTS plant was designated a Superfund site.
Residents of the area have also asserted that local, state, and federal authorities have been extremely negligent in fixing the problem, or have even ignored and covered up the extent of the issue.
Since news about the contamination broke in 2007, the issue has come before the county multiple times, and members of the board of commissioners expressed their concern about the problem. But while the county did pay for the extension of municipal water to some residents in 2008, it had balked at further extensions, citing concerns about jurisdiction. But if it obtains the funds and the city approves its end of the deal, households around the area could finally have access to city water.