Sand Branch Gets Short-Term Water Fix

The small unincorporated Dallas County community of Sand Branch has had water trouble for years. But there is now a short-term fix for the residents who were forced to buy bottled water or go without.

Sand Branch is located just west of Seagoville along Belt Line Road south of Highway 175.

On Monday morning, residents got a special delivery. It's one that found Michael Kennard, perhaps, just in time.

"Well, it's getting worse," Kennard said of his well water.

A majority of Sand Branch residents have no running water; others like Kennard have water that likely isn't safe to drink. That won't be a concern for him anymore after receiving a new water cooler and five-gallon water jug.

"That's a whole lot of help to me because I drink a lot of water," Kennard said. "Drinking the water out of the well, it's getting worse and worse, sir."

The cooler and water jug is courtesy of the United Methodist Church of North Texas. The Rev. Marji Hill, associate director for missional outreach at United Methodist Church of North Texas, says after the Dallas County Office of Emergency Services notified volunteer and aid groups of the situation her group started looking for funding.

The national chapter of the church helped secure funds, through grants, and it was able to buy enough water coolers for the estimated 58 households living in the area. Only about half were home on Monday morning to receive the coolers. And at least one resident says his well water is fine.

As for why the church jumped in to help, that's pretty simple.

"It's just an important thing that all people have the right to clean drinking water, the basics of life," Hill said.

The coolers and water bottles may not seem like a significant fix, but that's not the case says Pastor Eugene Keahey, of Project DreamHaus, who holds services and a food pantry at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Sand Branch.

"It may seem small but this is a huge thing for us," he said. "We're really excited about this fix. We know it's not long-term but we're excited."

The coolers are a short term solution, as County Judge Clay Jenkins says the county works on the long-term plan.

"We have meetings with EPA, FEMA and our state partner later in March and we continue to work on this daily," he said.

In the meantime, county contractors will replace the five-gallon jugs as residents like Kennard need them. Those who were not home to receive a water cooler will be able to at the church through Keahey.

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