From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Ellie Mulder):
In an online petition that has received about 2,000 signatures, Callie Loudenber is asking local and state officials to pay for bottled water and filters for El Paso County residents whose water she calls “dangerous.”
After reading about the issue Friday, Loudenber ran an online search on how to create a petition. She was directed to change.org.
She began sharing the petition on her personal social media, and it soon took off.
Although she is asking for short-term solutions, including free bottled water, she also is advocating for a long-term solution “that doesn’t increase these residents bills to pay for a problem they didn’t create and have been living with for years,” according to the petition.
She emphasizes that someone doesn’t have to live in the Security area to be concerned about the issue of contaminated water.
“I want it in people’s minds. I want people to be talking about it, thinking about it – not just in Colorado,” she said. “This could happen anywhere, and it’s something we need to take seriously.”
She’s a stay-at-home mother who lives in Colorado Springs, but she has already witnessed the effect the situation is having on her family members who live in Security Water District’s Zone 1. Her aunt, for example, has asked family not to visit because “she doesn’t feel comfortable” about it, Loudenber said.
In addition to creating the petition, she has reached out to businesses and organizations, including Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, which will hold a bottled water distribution for affected residents from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, 5354 U.S. Highway 85.
Loudenber said she plans to volunteer at the distribution.
Shannon Brice, Care and Share’s marketing and communications director, said the organization wants to make sure residents don’t have to cut into their food budgets to buy bottled water.
“We’re well aware of the need for people to have healthy food and nourishment for their bodies,” Brice said. “We wanted to make sure we were part of the solution.”
Danielle Oller, spokeswoman for El Paso County Public Health, said a community meeting is planned for 6 p.m. July 7 to provide “clear information to residents to address the concerns that they’re having. Information about the location will be released shortly.
The county will also test private wells for free, Oller said. For more information, call El Paso County Public Health at 575-8602.
On the petition’s page, Loudenber shares links to articles and places to go for further information. Many include examples of how other states have dealt with similar issues.
“I’m really careful to make sure I stay away from anything that looks like it might be relayed to a conspiracy theory, because I don’t want to invalidate what we’re doing,” she said.
The petition, titled “Free Bottled Water for Security, CO,” can be found at http://change.org/p/colorado-governor-free-bottled-water-for-security-co.