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City claims they have a fix for brown, cloudy water for some nei - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

City claims they have a fix for brown, cloudy water for some neighborhoods

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

When the water leaves the Columbia water treatment plant, city officials say it’s clean, safe to drink, and meets their EPA requirements.

However, when it enters the homes of some Columbia residents, it has a brown/yellow tint and it sometimes smells.

Residents in the Kennan Terrace neighborhood say their issues of brown, cloudy water have cleared for now but are afraid it’s only temporary.

On Wednesday, the City of Columbia addressed the city’s water issues stating that the water is safe but admit the system used to transport the water into some homes has been aging for years and could be to blame for the discolored water.

Still, dozens of neighbors are worried about what is coming out of their sinks.

In November, the city received 105 water quality complaints, seven of those were for bad odor and taste.

To date, the city has received 2,012 water quality complaints at 1,670 homes. The city has 140,000 meters and services over 300,000 customers.

“We believe it’s a small percent, but we really rely on our customers to give us that feedback” Clint Shealy, utility operations director, said.

Shealy said there is an issue with aging infrastructure that is causing the water to turn colors.

“Any older water system like the City of Columbia, if it has pipes that are 50years old and plus, you have the opportunity with galvanized lines in the ground, it takes time to replace those pipes.”

Residents in several neighborhoods said it’s been an ongoing issue for several years.

"I certainly understand their reason for concern and we do ask for their patience as we upgrade our infrastructure," Shealy said.

The city is asking residents who have the same problem to call them at 803-545-3300 so they can flush the water lines -- which is what neighbors in the Kennan Terrace neighborhood did last week.

The city said that is their temporary fix. Their long term fix is more complicated and includes millions of dollars in pipe replacement. Right now the timeline on getting a permanent fix is unknown.

“Over the next 5 years we have $69 million worth of investment planned to replace some of this aging infrastructure” said Shealy.

They are working on a solution but it’s one that will cost millions and a lot of patience.

At the time there is no construction underway to replace these aging pipes.

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