CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. - Imagine waiting 11-years for an endless supply of fresh, clean, running water. That was the case for the Fish Springs Community in Carter County. But during the winter, things were even tougher wells or tanks would freeze and sometimes the quality wasn't clean.
Relying on a spring from a mountain for water is a thing of the past for Bart Smith. But winter used to be rough and full of worries, "Water freezing, you had to haul it in the back of a pick-up truck and it would freeze from where we got it, to where we got it home."
But it's a different story this winter, homes just like Smith throughout the Little Milligan - Fish Springs Community have had running water since the beginning of August. "It's just a blessing, that's the only way you can say it. It's a blessing to have water," added Smith.
The fight for fresh water has been a long one, but because of grant money that was awarded in 2001 the community was able to save up nearly $3,000,000 for a water system.
Smith showed us where he used to keep three tanks to hold water and says when temperatures were below freezing that meant a shower might not be possible. "Every time you reach down and turn water on, you think about the days that you didn't do that, that you couldn't," he said.
The Potter family of seven used to rely on a well in their backyard and there was a constant concern once the seasons changed. "You just have to worry about the well drying up or the well sinking with all the snow or rain on the ground getting wet," said AJ Potter.
But now there's also a relief knowing the quality of water is safer for his children to drink. "Just knowing that, just having that peace of mind that the water is a lot cleaner," he said.
In the past, Little Milligan Elementary would spend nearly $100 a month to have professionals test the quality of their water. Thanks to the upgrade, they no longer have to do this.