WEST HELENA, Ark. — The water crisis in West Helena, Arkansas, drags on through another day, with very low water pressure or no water at all in most homes and businesses impacting about 3,000 customers.
Friday morning, Brenda Moss and her family got a case of donated bottled water, a blessing during West Helena’s water crisis. Moss, like her neighbors, has been without clean water at home since last Saturday. That’s when West Helena’s antiquated water system “took a dive.”
With a husband and three children, Moss has to constantly keep any water coming through her faucets boiling for health reasons.
“I have to boil water to cook with, to bath with and eat with and clean up with just like I’m doing now. Boiling and trying to wash dishes and sanitize the kitchen with it,” Moss said.
The National Guard has been providing potable water this week and bottled water is being delivered in neighborhoods by city workers.
It’s been “one step forward and two steps back” in the struggle to repair this system and get clean water flowing again and at the correct pressure. The latest setback came when a 10-inch pipe sprang a leak Wednesday night.
“Which is a really substantial amount of water that goes through that water main, and it broke right outside of our water treatment plant and so the water, rather than going out to the customers, was going out on the street,” said James Valley, Helena-West Helena chief of staff.
Right now the situation is dire for many merchants along West Helena’s business district. Most fast-food restaurants are closed.
“We’ve got all hands on deck, all of our people, and so we’re working on this thing at 100 percent,” Valley said.
WREG is also working to get more information on an incident involving Mayor Christopher Franklin. Valley confirms a man and woman entered the Mayor’s home Sunday night. The man was reportedly armed.
Both were taken into custody and the mayor reportedly suffered non-serious injuries. Helena-West Helena Police confirm they are investigating but could not provide any further information.