Water-Related News

A 21-year wait for clean water comes to an end for Charleston Park family

Dusty the cockatiel can finally drink from the tap.

More importantly, so can Dusty's owners Sharon and Joseph Redmon.

The development is thanks to a new sulfur and iron filter and sink reverse osmosis system installed Wednesday at the couple’s home in Charleston Park, a low-income Lee County neighborhood tucked amid orange groves off State Road 80 where residents lack access to clean running water.

For two decades, the Redmons bought bottled water for their family and brood of pets. The dining room of their three-bedroom home is stockpiled with jugs and water bottles. A water bottle sits beneath Dusty’s cage. The home’s well water was salty and undrinkable despite the deeper well they dug and the water softener and aerator they added to remove the rotten-egg and sulfur smell.

“We just gave up on trying to drink that water. I don’t even give the dogs that water,” said Joseph Redmon just before the new system was installed. “I wouldn’t dare try to give them water out of the faucet. If I don’t drink it, why should I give it to them?”

“I don’t even give the dogs that water.”

The water treatment came from donations made to Clean Water for Charleston Park, an initiative of the local outreach group Blankets & Blessings. It began after The News-Press special report on Charleston Park’s enduring water woes. Residents of the primarily black community of about 200 people have raised concerns about bad water to government agencies since the 1990s.