We have no idea what is really making it to our faucets. Of course, we don’t drink it. It’s dark and just rusty looking. Nobody ever said, oh, you’ve got a problem? They just kept saying, no, you don’t. You don’t have a problem. It started with a coal slurry spill. October 11 of 2000, 307 million gallons
of arsenic sludge and heavy metals was dumped into our water supply. It came through here and entered the river right here. And then, on top of that, the system was built
to serve 600 homes and it’s currently serving roughly 3,500. And it’s outdated and dilapidated. So that compiles even more problems. Of course, we don’t drink it. And we try our best not to use it to wash dishes or to bathe. For the surrounding areas, like the outskirts
of the county, it’s dark and just rusty looking. Or that, like, milky color to it. Nobody ever said, oh, you’ve got a problem? They just kept saying, no, you don’t. You don’t have a problem. I have four-wheel drive and a tow package,
so I can get us anywhere. This is why. Yeah, this is why. This is the reservoir. This is where they pump the water from the
river and hold it and then they pump it to the treatment plant around the curve, and
that’s where it’s treated and put into our lines. But you see the stuff that’s thrown into
our water, stuff that’s left here. This is our drinking water. The water flows in this direction: You had the slurry spill. Then our sewage treatment plant. Then you go to the intake, where they suck
the water from the river. Then it is pumped over a hill into a reservoir,
a man-made lake. And then from there, it goes into our treatment
system where it’s then treated with chemicals and pumped into the lines, which are also
crumbling and deteriorating. So the water at the plant may be good, but
through the cracks and groundwater infiltrating into our lines, by the time it makes it to
most homes, it’s not what it was at the intake. We have no idea what is really making it to our faucets. This is the 29 boil water advisories from 2017. They last for about two weeks. So as soon as one expired, another was— This area, all of Appalachia, has a higher
cancer death rate than the rest of the United States. Even if you factor out the fact that we have
high poverty, we have smoking, we have less access to health care— even factoring in those things, our cancer death rate is
just too high to not be environmental. Last January, we had a major crisis. We were without water for eight days. For well over a week, customers of the Martin
County Water District have been experiencing disruptions in their water service. And then it was rationed for another six days. So we had water from 7 am to 4 pm. After that, it came out about two or three
days later that they needed a 49% rate increase. Whether it’s just, like, they’re not getting
clean water or they’re having to spend so much money on buying bottled water, everyone’s
facing the crisis differently but it’s still a crisis. We’re not bad people. We’re not ignorant people. We just are stuck in a vicious cycle. We can turn this thing around. But not without help. These are private, for-profit companies. As we looked at what they’d done in other
places they had come in, taken over the water system, water was not improved, system was
not improved, but rates were raised. The public needs to have charge of this type
of system. This does not need to be a private corporation
that is just trying to increase profits on Wall Street. There really has to be kind of an understanding
between the citizens and government officials that we are reaching a point where something has to be done and we have to work together to make that happen. There’s live wires. You can see the tape. I’m not sure why there’s ropes everywhere
but it’s holding something together. You can see where they put the cap over this
one for me. They hate when I get pictures. The social media has had a huge part in organizing
this community and allowing this community to organize itself. And one of the things that gets shared a lot
on social media are the videos of usually brown water coming out of taps. And this is our water treatment plant. That one is down and has been for almost a year. So these two are the only ones working. So then as people started to show on Facebook
that this is what my water looks like today, that got the word out. I asked one of the magistrates at one of our
first meetings together. I said, ‘Well, did you learn anything?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, you’re a lovable pain in the ass.’ A lot of politicians have now noticed what’s
going on here. And I think that will really help because
they don’t want to look bad. We’re kinda forcing them to acknowledge us. Most of the country legally does not recognize
what I believe is a fundamental human right to clean water. There is a UN resolution that states that
there is a basic human right to clean water for drinking and sanitation. That was not adopted by the United States. As you talk to more and more people, you see
that this is a nationwide problem. Flint was sort of a watershed moment for awareness in this country about the problems with drinking water. And as a result of Flint, there’s a lot more
scrutiny on water systems. Well, there’s just a lot more public awareness
and recognition of how important the issue is. If your roof’s falling in and you patch half of it, your roof is still falling in. So unless we keep fighting
and pushing until it’s completely done, we’ll never see better. You’ll see why I wanted to bring you here
when you get up here. My house is just on the other side of this
hill right here. Look at the sky, it’s beautiful. People think I’m the pessimist because I’m
always the one out fighting. But I’m actually the one out fighting ’cause
I’m the optimist. I actually believe if you fight, you might win. We live in a really tight knit community where
everybody is more like family than neighbors. Everybody looks out for everybody. And if one’s in need, we all rally together to make sure that they’re ok.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I can’t believe there is a place that never had clean water for 20 years 😔
    This is really disturbing times, they really deserve justices.

  2. This is disturbing news coming from the "Developed and the most powerful nation" on the planet. Privatisation of water is immoral.

  3. This is the problem of allowing unchecked privatization to grow into every aspect of the country. When money profit supersedes the needs of the public good. Privatization that aims only for profit lets those at the edges/fringes to die. If you can't afford to pay private companies extortion, then you metaphorically & many times literally die. You live out in the rural country, when it's not profitable to provide you broadband connection, so it's not provided.

    Companies/corporations love the opportunity to buy public utilities, because they are essentially mostly a monopoly. These monopolies were given permission to exist as a public service priority & not profit priority, but when these private equity firms buy these utilities, public service gets neglected for profit as you'd expect from a private monopoly.
    Remember folks, despite we Americans having learned to love the game of Monopoly, that game was invented to be a warning to the dangers of monopolies, not to praise them. Monopolies should not be allowed to exist without a public safety valve to take it away against corrupt misbehavior. Power always needs some sort of regulatory oversight checks & balance, lest it will always run amok.

    When profit is involved, self regulation is a f*ckin' myth. When profit is involved, companies are only regulated by what they think they can get away with.

  4. Moscow Mitch and Red Paul working hard to keep power, yet, the constituents have no water FOR 20 YEARS! Make America Great, just drop the Again because it never was. At least, in many parts. And if you keep voting for the same party and nothing gets better, you deserve it!

  5. Why is it so difficult to provide clean water to these people? Is that because they are not rich enough to be interesting to politicians?

  6. Good thing Bevin is out! I hope the best for the people of Kentucky and the Appalachia. You guys deserve clean water and environmental rights for your area

  7. You need electable, public watership organizations, like in Yurop. If this sounds too socialist for you, too bad foks. Drink up.

  8. 6:05 THIS IS! what late stage Capitalism looks like.

    Company's are SO DESPERATE to profit? they need to buy the things the Government does, in order to OBTAIN those profits.

    Capitalism is eating itself alive.

  9. Billionaires benefit from cheap materials which are cheap because they don't protect environment. Bill Gates and other billionaires fortunes are made on products whose manufacturing most likely produce poisoned water and air and exploited people who were not paid a fair wage. And these billionaires think they are entitled to their money, while others drink water poisoned because they were willfully ignorant about the exploitation that was happening. Show me a billionaire and I show you someone who has gained his/her wealth unfairly.

  10. I’ve been saying that all of us in Michigan are surrounded by water, yet we have citizens that don’t have clean water to drink. Flint still doesn’t have clean water, but 20 years on and this community doesn’t either? Disgraceful.

  11. If its broken fix it…all pipelines of water need to be changed…and it needs millions of dollars,now ask ..how are you going to pay for it..from the goverment if you change our pipes..same principal for medicare..republicans dont get it..its required!!

  12. It doesnt matter what political party you support, what your income or educational level is. I think we can all agree that clean drinking water is a necessity, and every American should have access to it.

  13. Elaine Chau is and has always been for sale, so did you expect a larger fine or other penalty? Now she is in charge of the department of transportation, where she can get richer, and get her family fat contracts. Yay republicans!

  14. Just like Flint.
    Vote Bernie. Vote really progressive. Vote anti McConnell swamp monster. He only cares about money. Not about you.
    Vote for someone they’re all scared of!!!!!

  15. America, the "greatest", richest country in the world.

    Isnt Capitalism wonderful??

    (& OF COURSE mitch McConnells wife & Don Blankenship have a hand in this. Evil, evil, vile, disgusting people).

  16. So they'd rather keep the right to bear arms, but wont acknowledge the right to clean water ? The BASIC HUMAN RIGHT to clean drinking water .. ohmigod 😢

  17. These corrupt loonies in congress are so busy with this bogus impeachment that they fail to realize these types of situations that our very own citizens go through in this country smh

  18. Yet some want to call it "liberal" or think it's "against America" or "to hurt businesses/jobs" to expect people to have safe clean drinking & bathing water. We see how it goes with some regulations in place & how they'll try to sneak around that but certain people want even THAT to go away INSTEAD of obviously hitting them (companies & agencies) with regulations to make them do the right thing or face criminal charges BCUZ on their own they won't. You REALLY can't make this stuff up SMH.

  19. Good to see the government of Kentucky looking out for its own citizens. Oh wait, they’re more focused on keeping Republicans in power in Washington.

  20. Red so called Christian state, Fyi the flint problem was caused after republicons took over. Many have been indicted! So save the lie

  21. I'm in South Western Pennsylvania (Appalachians Mountains) and our lead levels several times are higher than Flint's..and nothing is being done about it..no media coverage,it's not even being discussed,looked at or anything!..I'm not sure that people are fully aware!

  22. It’s their fault for voting Republican, then again the heavy metals from the water is making them stupid causing them to be dumb and vote Republican.

  23. Can you imagine being charged extra for your water then having your water rationed… poison water XD jfc I don’t wanna live on this planet anymore

  24. This is a problem in a number of our states due to old pipes and a failure of investing the funds needed to update the system.

  25. Jesus Christ. Hey all you republican voters who always like to fear monger about how bad California is…look how bad your red republican states are. Your are the highest states in sickness and death because you're republican governors deny you healthcare. The vast majority are on drugs and involved with crime. Seems like your fight is with republicans not democrats.

  26. I just wanna make a suggestion… maybe don’t fish in that water either! They say there are no fish, anywhere really, that are safe anymore.

  27. Omg this is crazy we've had a water band in Dublin for almost a month but this is much worse we can drink bottles of water and boil it too

  28. Right wing policies and capitalism at work right there.
    Republitards: "we just need MORE capitalism and deregulation!"
    Truly the dumbest of the dumb…

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