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Brookport residents ready to see aging water system replaced

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BROOKPORT (WSIL) -- Residents in Brookport have dealt with poor water quality for as long as most anyone remembers, now--a new multi-million-dollar improvement project hopes to change that.

The Water System Rehabilitation project secured its funding in July and began replacing pipes in August. Residents say they are looking forward to the changes ahead.

"It's brown, it stinks, I have to buy bottles of water just to drink water and stuff, and I'm not very happy," says Valara Broxxie, a resident of the community for the past three years. She says she spends nearly $60 a month on bottled water; when she turns on her tap, it smells like rotten eggs.

"If you came inside, you would think my house stinks," says Broxxie. "That's how terrible it smells."

Issues surrounding Brookport's poor water quality is no secret. The Mayor says many residents had lost hope anything would ever change. Securing the grant took several years, providing the community its largest USDA grant to date.

The city water system was installed in 1906 and other than repairing a few leaking pipes, nothing else has changed for more than 100 years. The most recent leak was costing the city more than 10-thousand gallons a day.

"When they fixed this leak, it was one of the largest Jim brown, our engineer, had said he'd ever seen," says Tami Wessel, Brookport mayor, adding, "It was like a geyser coming out of the ground."

The City secured nearly $1.8 million in grant funding from the USDA and matched it with a million dollar loan for the project, that's expected to take a year to complete.

Kathy Peeler built her home in Brookport nearly 30-years ago and says, "I'm a registered nurse, an old one, but a registered nurse, and when I used to wear whites, and you washed them, they weren't white anymore, they were kind of rusty brown."

Peeler says like other residents, she's bought bottled water and filters. Now they are ready to just use the tap again, "I am looking forward to less rusty water; so is my coffee."

Residents will see a $7 increase in their water bills that will go towards paying the loan down. The Project includes replacing pipes, fire hydrant plugs, and refurbishing their water tower.

Joe Rehana

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