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Letter: As someone who's also had home water struggles, Housatonic residents deserve much better

To the editor: Shortly after moving into our home in Sandisfield, my husband and I discovered we had a problem with our water quality.

While it was drinkable, hot water in the bathtub was the color of brewed tea. At first, we thought it was, like other homes in our area, due solely to a high concentration of iron. We later discovered that not only was our iron level high, but our water heater had been improperly plumbed causing internal rusting. Still, having light brown hot water that would be used for bathing, laundry and drinking was not an option. So, we had a water treatment and filtration system installed, along with prematurely replacing our water heater, and have enjoyed clear, delicious water from our well ever since.

I am writing because while we have all seen the stories and photos in The Eagle, I have good friends who live in Housatonic who have shared their personal photos of awful water, stories of laundry ruined, showering in brown water (which stained hair), and the hassle of having to buy bottled water. ("Residents press for a possible merger of the Housatonic and Great Barrington water systems," Eagle, Dec. 7.)

That almost 1,000 of our Berkshire neighbors are dealing with this is completely unacceptable. While I don't know if the water solution that worked so perfectly for my husband and me is a viable one, it certainly should be explored by Great Barrington's leadership. And while I and others would appreciate a shuttle service from Great Barrington to Wassaic, Adam Hinds' suggestion that the money earmarked for that service could be better spent moving toward a Housatonic water solution is a no-brainer. I applaud Mr. Hinds' decision to do the right thing.

In the 21st century, even in remote areas such as Sandisfield, citizens expect reliable infrastructure such as electricity, phone and internet service. In more settled areas of Berkshire County like Housatonic — where residents don't have private wells and pay for their service — clear, clean water is a basic right and necessity and certainly not a luxury.

There needs to be a sense of urgency, and the days of "kicking the can down the road" regarding the water problem should end. Folks in Housatonic deserve better.

Melissa Bye, Sandisfield

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