Earlewood residents experience on-going brown water issues, say old pipes are to blame

COLUMBIA (WOLO): Residents in Columbia’s Earlewood community went without running water for 36 hours last week after a pipe burst in the neighborhood. This sparked reason for more residents to speak out about their on-going water issues with the city.

“I was getting really brown water intermittently, and it would mess with my appliances, the water dispenser on my refrigerator, and my washing machine. Sometimes I would go to wash a light load of laundry and would come back completely brown and stained.”

Michael Mims’ faucet water is crystal clear. That’s because he installed a filtration system in his home, but for many residents on Lincoln road and others in the Earlewood community, water still looks brown and tea-like. 

Mims says he and many others in the neighborhood spent thousands to re-plumb their homes, to no avail. Neighbor John Regan avoids using the tap all together. “We’re just buying all our water for drinking and for cooking because it’s just not worth the risk. Not worth the health risk to your family,” said Regan.

Residents say they’ve reached out to the city’s water department, but understand employees are overwhelmed. Now they’re asking city council to come up with a plan, calling what they’ve done thus far- band-aids to the problem.

“We feel we’ve been forgotten about. The longer we go ignoring what’s going on here, the worst this problem is going to become, and the higher the water department’s budget it going to be,” said Mims. 

In the meantime, Mims and Regan fear for other residents in the community who can’t afford to find their own solutions to the problem.

“If I were in a position that I couldn’t afford  to buy clean water for my kids, I would be truly afraid. I really would be. I would have a great deal of fear having my children drink water from these taps,” says Regan. 

“My heart goes for the people who don’t have the ability or haven’t figured out how to filter the water like I have. Really, we need help. And it’s not going to come from just a rate hike, people need to put their heads together, we need to be creative and figure out where we’re gonna get the money to start replacing these lines in sections like it should’ve been done from the get-go,” said Mims. 

The city says they reached out to Mims about the issue and took a sample of his water. They say there was an extensive upgrade in the Earlewood water system recently which may have impacted water quality.

Categories: Local News