HOWARDSVILLE, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - A social media firestorm is erupting after a FOX 5 story showed residents in a small, historic African American neighborhood living on well water and using outhouses. Howardsville is a community located in Loudoun County’s in Bluemont area, next to Middleburg — in one of the wealthiest counties in the country.
On Wednesday, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall watched the video we shot Tuesday, which is now sparking outrage on Facebook. It shows 74-year-old Howardsville resident Thomas Reid using a well.
Randall has been to Howardsville, the historic neighborhood, home to 10 African American residents.
“The issue is their land doesn’t perk so you can’t just put a septic system on land that doesn't perk. You have to do a wastewater system, and that usually has to be off sight. You have to meet with Loudoun Water... We have been working continuously for the past two years to get this done,” said Randall.
Howardsville is about 30 minutes west of Leesburg. Even so, the residents are not alone in having to provide their own water.
“We don’t have any town water or anything like that, we’re too far out... we’re out in the country,” said resident Harris Tracy. “People over there, they own, Johnson & Johnson... they got their own water.”
Tracy, 71, says a non-profit group built him a bathroom, including covering infrastructure costs that apparently start at least at $25,000.
For Thomas Reid — he refuses to ask for help.
“I ain't begging,” said Reid.
The county has set aside $2.4 million to help Howardsville residents, but creating the infrastructure to support running water could cost more.
“Now, we’re at the design phase... the goal is to have this done in a year,” said Randall.
Even though the county is willing to help, technically they are not responsible.