Virginia Tech engineering Professor Marc Edwards watched as water flowed from a garden hose in Enterprise, Louisiana. As he moved a jar to catch a sample, the color changed from clear to brown. Years of water system neglect means that the 250-or-so residents there are left with pipes that leak more than 70% of their water into the ground, Tiser said — all because they can’t afford to fix them. “We’re basically putting Band-Aids when we need to go to the ER. That’s where we’re at,” he said.
This town is like thousands that are vulnerable to contaminated water, with no fix in sight