Hickory residents concerned with discolored water coming out of faucets

Worry is turning into frustration after repeated attempts to resolve the problem have gone down the drain.
It appears at this point that it’s a pretty widespread problem. Dirt-brown water is damaging appliances and affecting lives.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT
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HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Residents in one Hickory neighborhood are dealing with a real problem, and it’s coming out of their faucets.

David and Lisa Staats say for months they’ve been trying to identify the source of brown water coming into their house, but so far they say no one has any idea where the problem is coming from.

It appears at this point that it’s a pretty widespread problem. Dirt-brown water is damaging appliances and affecting lives.

“From one to 10, 10 being I want to throw myself out of a window, a 9.5,” one resident said.

The source of Lisa Staats’ frustration is the brown water that comes pouring out of her faucets. It’s like an unwanted visitor that comes a couple of times each month.

“We have chocolate soup coming out of the tap,” she said.

Because of the problem, it’s affected just about every aspect of their lives.

“We can’t brush our teeth, take showers. I have animals, I can’t give them any water,” David Staats told WBTV’s Ron Lee. “I’ve never seen anything like that before, so I called the water company.”

The problems started as soon as they moved in last year, and the couple says most of their neighbors are having the same issue.

They say city repair crews have been out at their property close to a dozen times, but the brown water doesn’t wash away.

“Then a few weeks later it happened again, and again, and again, and again,” Lisa said.

The worrisome part for the couple is wondering what exactly is coming out of their faucets.

“We don’t know what’s in it,” they said. “Is it minerals, is it animal feces is it sewage? We have no idea.”

Lisa says the water is wreaking havoc on everything from appliances to filtration systems.

Their worry is turning into frustration as repeated attempts to resolve the situation have gone down the drain, still with no resolution in sight.

WBTV reached out to city officials about the problem. We were told this is all part of a fire hydrant inspection and maintenance program. Officials wrote:

“As a consequence of flushing, sometimes this operation causes brief water discoloration. Changes in flow direction or velocity due to hydrant flushing or line breaks can stir up sediment in the pipes and result in discolored water. The sediment is typically iron and manganese compounds that are naturally present in the water that have settled to the bottom of the pipes.”

The city also said:

“As the hydrant inspection and maintenance process continues over the next few months, citizens are asked to call City of Hickory Public Services at 828-323-7500 to flush the main line if they should experience temporary water discoloration. After the main line is cleared of discoloration, homeowners should turn on an outside spigot to clear up the water inside the residence. Refrain from using hot water as soon as possible after experiencing discoloration to prevent the hot water heater from getting discolored.”

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