Greenwood residents concerned about tap water issues

Resident's dated bottles show water quality in Greenwood.
Resident's dated bottles show water quality in Greenwood.(KSLA)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 2:48 PM CDT
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GREENWOOD, La. (KSLA) - Multiple Greenwood residents say they have noticed discolored water within the past few weeks.

Prudy Coleman said she has lived in Greenwood for 10 years and “the water has never looked this bad before.”

Coleman showed KSLA crews two tubs of water with a yellow hue, as well as dated water bottles comparing the color of the water.

Tori Ann Fields said her son has been breaking out in hives. Even after taking doctor-recommended medication, his rashes did not seem to go away, she said.

“We didn’t know if maybe what they’re using, or not using in the water was contributing to some of the rashes,” Fields said.

Both Fields and Coleman voiced frustrations with the town for not sharing adequate information.

“A lot of the information we found out because I did my own research,” Fields said.

On Aug. 1, a notice was sent out on the official Town of Greenwood Facebook page.

It reads in part, “One of the sample sites failed to meet the .50 required minimum chlorine residual for two months in a row, this site was located on Locust Hill Rd and is not a heavily populated area with historically low water usage.”

Town Clerk Veronica Brown said the discoloration and failed samples are not related. She sent us this statement:

“The Greenwood Water System is currently experiencing brown water due to the high demand and extreme continued heat. However, This is not a result from the recent Notice of Violation from the LDH due to lack of Chlorine residual at one of the six sample sites in the town. The Water system failed to maintain the required .50 residual in one area of town that is not highly populated with low water usage. The Town addressed this issue by installing an automatic flush plug in the area and has passed the required minimum for the month of July. We would like to reassure all the Greenwood Water System customers that the Town Administration is monitoring the situation and the water dept employees are diligently striving to produce safe, clear water to all the customers.”

A spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health said the town did fail samples in May, June and July and said the discoloration is caused by manganese.

“The Town sustained damage from a lightning strike [on July 20] and severe heat caused performance issues with the raw water intake pumps. Temporary repairs have been completed. The Town began flushing the distribution system to move any discolored water through the system that occurred from making repairs. Manganese can build up in a distribution system and cause discolored water when the flow conditions in the pipe changes,” according to LDH. “During the months of May, June and July, LDH sampled the water system for bacteriological quality at 6 sampling stations. All 18 samples were negative for total coliform, the indicator used for determining bacteriological health of a public water system’s distribution system. However, the chlorine residuals for 5 of the 18 samples (May - 2, June -1, and July - 2) were below the state minimum disinfectant residual.”

The spokesperson said temporary repairs were completed August 1.

On Saturday, July 31, Coleman said she received a letter in the mail from the Town of Greenwood explaining the failed chlorine samples. However, the letter was dated July 14. KSLA asked LDH about the guidelines surrounding resident notification.

“Water systems must notify their customers after two consecutive months where chlorine residuals are less than the state minimum disinfectant residual. The violation letter is issued to the water system at the beginning of the next month (July). The water system must notify the public by newspaper within 14 days of receiving the violation letter and by mail or hand delivery within 30 day,” according to LDH.

Based on the color of the water and even floating particles in the water, KSLA inquired about the requirements for a boil advisory.

LDH said, “Boil advisories are issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become contaminated, such as a critical treatment process failure for surface water systems or pressure loss below 20 psi. At this time, the Town has not experienced either of these conditions.”

Again, both LDH and the town say the flushing should clear the discoloration.

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