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Williston water company owners to deliver drinking water to their hometown of Flint

WILLISTON -- Toxic tap water has stricken the residents of Flint, Mich., and the catastrophe has hit home for two Williston businessmen, Chris Duell and Dan Provost, who believe they have the responsibility to try to do something about it.

WILLISTON - Toxic tap water has stricken the residents of Flint, Mich., and the catastrophe has hit home for two Williston businessmen, Chris Duell and Dan Provost, who believe they have the responsibility to try to do something about it.

The owners of the only water bottling plant in Williston -- C & D Water Supply -- call Flint home. Their business revolves around providing the community with fresh water and they understand the gravity of not being able to trust the water that comes out of homeowner’s faucets.

“People take water for granted; we see it all the time,” Duell said. “If you don’t have water, that becomes the most important thing in your home.”

Provost hears the stories from his mother, who lives in the heart of the crisis. He said when residents of Flint turn on their faucets they can expect to fill a glass with brown, corrosive liquid.

The Flint River, which was the troubled water source, produces water so acidic it had eaten through much of the city’s pipelines. The brown water is a result of eroded iron that has leaked into the supply. The water was never treated with an anti-corrosive agent that Duell said would’ve cost approximately $100 a day.

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The outbreak of Legionnaire's disease has also concerned Michigan residents.

The Center for Disease Control states that Legionnaires disease is transmitted by inhaling mist or vapor, like that found in a shower. Although it’s unsure of where the source of the outbreak is, 87 Flint residents have been diagnosed with Legionnaires disease, resulting in 10 deaths.

Provost and Duell said they can recall many of the Flint homes were of older construction where lead solder was popular. There are now reports that there are elevated levels of lead in the water supply, which, they said, affects children and the elderly especially.

“Flint was thriving,” said Duell. “Our whole families worked for General Motors and we were fortunate to have good, clean water.”

It was perhaps fate that the Michigan natives should open a water company in Williston.

With the success Duell and Provost found at the height of the oil boom, they believe they have the financial ability to help their hometown. Even as they have experienced a slowdown, along with most businesses in the area, they knew it was something they had to do.

On Saturday, they will be loading up a semi-truck with 1,040 4-gallon bottles of water. They partnered with Duell’s stepfather, Craig Colvin, who is currently driving an empty truck from Michigan to North Dakota.

The drop point will be at the United Way in Flint on Monday where it’s expected to serve schools and restaurants that have otherwise been unable to cook food.

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Duell and Provost opened a GoFundMe account for Williston residents who would also like to contribute.

“I know we are in a bit of a crisis ourselves, but we’re not expecting $1,000, $100, or even $50,” Duell said. “Even 1, 2, or 3 bucks can help.”

Their goal is $8,500, which would be sufficient to send a full truck of 26 pallets of water back to Michigan, which they are offering to do at cost.

“We’re not looking to make a profit,” said Provost. “This city has been very good to us. We want to show the positive of the city of Williston.”

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