HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Residents in the Parkhaven neighborhood in Hattiesburg said they regularly deal with discolored water.
"Over the past few months, the water can occasionally be discolored from a light yellowish, light green tea looking color to sometimes brown," said Staci Cox, president of the Parkhaven Neighborhood Association.
Neighbors recently brought concerns and water samples to the heads of the city's water and sewer and engineering departments and Ward 4 Council Member Mary Dryden.
"For them to have to deal with orange and yellow water for weeks, turning into months and have to replace their sheets when they wash them, to get the water in bathtub for their child and it be orange, it's just not acceptable," Dryden said.
Cox said neighbors have come up with temporary solutions, but it is costing them.
"They've gotten into a practice of flushing their water when they wake up," Cox said. "They can run any discolored water out, so they can have clear water for the rest of the day. We have had complaints of higher water bills because of having to run their water. That is an issue because prices on water just went up, and now we're having to use more water just to get quality water. It's water. We shouldn't have to filter our water all the time. We don't want to have to do that because that is more money on top of the money that we're already having to pay for water."
Dryden said, "At the very least, people should have clear, clean water, and the people were told that, yes, it's probably safe to drink it. Would I drink it? No. Now, I just don't think that's acceptable."
Mayor Johnny DuPree agrees clean water is a priority.
"We all agree that we want water that's clean, potable and safe, keeping in mind that we have 125-year-old city," he said.
Cox said she sent a letter to the mayor and the council, and DuPree called her on the same day with potential solutions.
"(We're going to) increase the testing," DuPree said. "Basically, the test we do are determined by the health department every two years for that area for what they're asking for - metals and those kinds of things. We would test every year instead of two years if they were concerned. We've done that in other areas as well. We would test for metals, for iron, whatever it is that we could test for."
Cox said DuPree also said residents would be informed before the fire department does fire hydrant testing, which can aggravate the problem.
"We're going to get a regular schedule of the flushing of the fire hydrants in our area, so that we can communicate that with our neighbors and residents," Cox said. "We can't always tell when the brown water is going to come, but we do know that it does coincide with the flushing of our fire hydrants. If we know when that happens, we can better alert our neighbors, so they know don't wash your whites on this day."
Cox said she hopes residents feel the city is listening to their concerns and trying to fix the problem.
"I hope that the residents feel that their voice is beginning to be heard by the mayor and the appropriate channels, so hopefully we can come about a resolution," Cox said. "It's not going to happen over night, and we know that. But we want to be a part of the solution, and so we want to help in whatever way we can."