FOX10 News is committed to getting you answers. Several residents in the Creola/Axis area are frustrated that their water keeps turning shades of brown and yellow.
Creola Mayor William Criswell says it's out of his hands and that the privately owned Le Moyne Water Inc. is responsible.
FOX10 News spoke with Sherri Steadham, who says her water has periodically turned shades of brown for the last six months.
“At least once a month, if not twice a month, it’s been happening to my neighbors and I,” said Steadham. “And when it does happen, it’s anywhere from two days, and I’ve had upwards of five days.”
Along with photos, Steadham showed us water samples she and her neighbors had saved over the months. In one sample, there were several particles floating around.
FOX10 News went to Le Moyne Water Inc. to get some answers. Chief Operator Larry Parker didn’t want to do a recorded interview but tells us the discolored water is the result of a buildup of sediment and rust in the pipes. He said that sediment has iron, manganese, and other minerals that are naturally occurring in groundwater. These particles rest on the bottom of the distribution lines but become disturbed when there is a sudden change in water flow.
After receiving several complaints from residents in late 2017, Le Moyne started a comprehensive flushing system about two months ago to try and fix the problem. Parker also said the water system was established in 1970 and apologized for not “flushing the pipes enough in years past.”
“We recommended to them that they get on a flushing schedule,” said Mayor Criswell. “Once they flushed those lines, it cleared up.”
Le Moyne Inc.'s Larry Parker explained that this flushing can also cause the water to turn yellow for a short period of time and that his workers leave flyers (posted in the photos section of this article) on the doors of residents before they flush the pipes in an area.
However, Steadham says her water turned yellow again as she was trying to cook on Christmas. She said she did not get a flyer beforehand. Her neighbor also had dark yellow water on New Year’s Eve. Parker said the company received this complaint on New Year's Day.
“I was so frustrated when I saw the water,” said Steadham. “I just threw my cup in the sink and said, ‘well there you go! Merry Christmas to us!’"
Mayor Criswell told FOX10 News he was unaware of any recent water problems.
“It frustrates us a little bit because we would like to correct any problems they have, and we wouldn't be getting as many complaints,” said the Mayor.
Le Moyne water officials say they are continuing to flush out pipes to work on the problem. They are asking locals to bear with them.
"Would you cook with water that you got off the dirt, and mixed it with water, and just throw your spaghetti in it? I wouldn't, but they want us to do it,” said Steadham. “I just think that's very unfair that we should have to continue to pay every month for our bill, and they have no problem taking my money, but we have to be left with this water and it's just not okay."
Le Moyne Water Inc. couldn't tell us how many of their customers are affected, but we're told the majority are on Bell Drive in Axis.
Officials from both the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Mobile County Health Department say they haven't had any complaints, and therefore, are not investigating.
Mayor Criswell said after we reached out to him for this story, he plans on contacting Le Moyne Water Inc. this week to see if there is anything else they can do.
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