Discolored water raises concerns from Pascoag residents


BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — People living in the Pascoag section of Burrillville are expressing concern about the murky, brown water that’s coming out of their taps. The utility district chief says won’t be fixed for at least a couple of weeks, but for now the water is safe for everyday use.

Eyewitness News received numerous reports from viewers about the discolored water, telling us it has stained clothing and made local coffee taste bad. Some days it’s clear and other days it’s far from it, leading some to resort to buying bottled water.

Town officials said it’s due to rust that’s collecting in aging pipelines, but the water is in fact safe.

“Not dangerous,” said Mike Kirkwood, general manager of the Pascoag Utility District. “Aesthetically, it looks awful. We do bacterial testing every month and had just done the bacterial testing the week before this incident, and no problems.”

Five samples were sent to an outside lab for analysis. Kirkwood said crews did some localized flushing of hydrants to address the problem, but in some instances it made the discoloration even worse.

Another problem is that one of Pascoag’s two standpipes is offline after it was damaged this winter, which prevents crews from performing a powerful, thorough flushing of the system.

“We run this company to try and avoid these problems, but it happens,” said Kirkwood. “These are pipes that are, in some instances, almost 100 years old.”

Kirkwood said they’re hoping to get the standpipe back online and flush the system within the next two weeks.

If you’re experiencing discolored water, you could either buy drinking filters or have a plumber install a single home filter. Boiling the water will not help in this situation, however, since it’s not a bacterial issue.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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