Strained Rural Water Utilities Buckle Under Pandemic Pressure

September 11, 2020, PEW Trusts, April Simpson – In Mississippi, Rome is working on repairs to its wastewater pump. But the repairman Knighten typically would recommend contracted COVID-19. So the town is turning its wastewater pump on and off at different times of the day because it doesn’t have the money to continue the repair, Knighten said. Parchman Penitentiary is Rome’s nearest large employer. The town’s median household income is about $28,000 a year, according to Communities Unlimited.  Rome Water System has faced financial troubles over the past 15 years, Knighten said. He is essentially a volunteer. “It’s a burden, but hey, eventually we’re gonna work this thing out some type of way,” Knighten said. “I know it sounds, ‘Why are we doing this?’ “I mean, somebody has to do it. So, we doing the best we can.”

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