Belated Column for October 18: McCaysville Water Woes

My apologies to my regular readers. I’ve had some technical difficulties and have been unable to post for over a week. This is the column for October 18 with some revisions.

We’ve been having some beautiful, much cooler days, with morning temperatures from 40 to 45. It’s still warming up nicely in the afternoon, depending on the wind, of course.

Copperhill and McCaysville have been under a boil water order since the 10th. It was lifted this morning, the 18th. That’s a long time, and the problem is that many of our second home owners undoubtedly know nothing about it. As I’ve said before, they should go to the Nixle website and sign up for alerts from the Fannin County EMS. That’s how we learn of these things.

Yesterday, October 24, they issued a “conserve water” request, due to problems at the plant. It is still in effect.

In my real estate practice, I routinely advise my buyers that the old copper plant in Copperhill is the largest superfund site in the southeast, and that to the best of my knowledge they are operating under a consent order with the EPA that in effect means that they have to keep making something, or they would be liable for the entire cleanup, day one. And that, to the best of my knowledge, while they did sell their old sulfuric acid plant to a Brazilian concern, that they still have an acid permit. On the plus side, it is getting cleaned up. The Ocoee River, which did not support aquatic life for 100 years, now has fish. That’s real progress, but I tell everyone they have to decide how far away is far enough away. Also that the successor to the Tennessee Copper Company has retained the mineral rights to a large swath of territory, reaching almost to Coker Creek.

I now will have to add the endemic water problems to my list of concerns about the area, because this is far from an isolated incident. Perhaps it will occur to the folks who are talking about turning McCaysville into the next Gatlinburg that sooner or later, they may have to do something about the aging and evidently inadequate water system.

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