Welsh officials assure residents town water safe

WELSH — Officials assured residents Wednesday that the town’s water is safe to drink despite being  brown and smelly at times.

“The water leaving the plant is safe to drink, even though it’s not pretty,” Steve Belshe of C + L Aqua Professionals told residents. “For some residents to have good water, the plant has to be producing good water.”

For the past several months many residents have been experiencing brown, smelly water coming from their pipes despite efforts to improve the water. The water presents no public health risk or boil advisory for the town, according to Belshe.

“We are still having problems in certain sections of town where we just can’t get the water to clear up,” Belshe said.

He said one house on a street can have clear water, while the neighbor across the street has brown water.

“I think people are frustrated and I am the one with clean water,” Emily Gay said.

Many residents said they have been buying bottled water rather than use the town’s water they are paying for. Others complained of brown, rusty water damaging their clothes and appliances.

“We had no water problems till the first of the year,” one resident said. “Now we are seeing dirty and smelly water.”

“Seven months of this…we need relief somewhere, somehow,” resident Darwin Brown said.

Others questioned why they are still paying for water that “ruins everything we use it on.”

“My heart goes out to everybody, but we are doing everything we can to get it right,” Mayor Carolyn Louviere said.

Belshe, who has been working with town officials to improve the water for the past several months, said the problem with discolored water appears to have begun when the town began flushing the water lines to clear up the problem.

 “The town was trying so hard to get all the trash out that the distribution system is now exposed to iron that it hadn’t seen and now you are getting rust,” he said.

Belshe said the next step is for the town to add zinc orthophosphate to its water to help coat the pipes, cut down on corrosion and eliminate rust in the pipes. It will also help keep the pH level up, he said.

The zinc orthophosphate will cost about $12-$14 a gallon, or about $20 a day for half a million gallons of water. The town is seeking grants to help with the cost,  Louviere said.

The state will have to approve use of the product before the town can add it to the water.

‘We had no water problems till the first of the year. Now we are seeing dirty and smelly water.’

Welsh resident


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