Pender Co. residents voice frustrations at public hearing over water ‘like petroleum oil’

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HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Hung out to dry! That’s how some water customers feel in Pender County.

They say they have been dealing with discolored water for months and now their utility provider wants to raise their rates.

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People who live in Belvedere Plantation say their water is brown or unusable.

“Dirt, oily, I mean it was scary. Like petroleum oil is what I would describe it as,” Joyce Diggett, a resident, said.

Carolina Water Service submitted a request to raise water and sewer rates 20 percent.



Customers like Diggett say that’s crazy.

“I’m paying for dirty water,” Diggett said. “Dirty, sooty, oily water. I don’t know how many other people have experienced this, but it’s just, the community needs to be aware that it’s a danger, it’s got to be a danger, and I’m gonna get this tested too.”

She and many others think their water should be clean before they have to pay more for it.

“Do a better job. Justify the increase. I’m glad to pay more if I’m going to get quality but I really don’t think we’re going to,” Donna Pietrogiacomo, a resident said.

Dozens filled the New Hanover County Courthouse. As the North Carolina utilities commission held the meeting to hear comments from Carolina Water service customers.

“I’m angry. Disappointed that nothing’s been done. These people have been complaining for a year,” Diggett said.

“It’s frustrating that we’re being held captive and we have no other options but to comply because we need water,” Pietrogiacomo said.

Some of the customers even described the water as leaving a burning feeling on their skin. Dozens of people went to the hearing tonight and said they are against the rate increase. The rates will be set in September.