Dirty water has White Hall residents ready for relief

Charlie Surles holds up discolored water from his neighbor's faucet.
Charlie Surles holds up discolored water from his neighbor's faucet.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

WHITE HALL, AL (WSFA) - The Surles family doesn't like what they see when they turn on the faucet.

Instead of clean and clear water, they're seeing just the opposite--brown water.

"First thing in the morning, I go turn the water on and this is what I get," says Mary Surles, as she holds up a washcloth with brown spots on it.

It's water they're afraid to drink.

"Nobody wants to brush their teeth and gargle with it in the morning time," says Mary.

Like others in the community, they're chugging bottled water instead.

But it's not just homes seeing discolored drops, one school is too.

Administrators at Jackson-Steele Elementary School say their water fountains have been turned off since school started...because of the problem.

They're giving children bottled water too, but Shequita Surles is still concerned.

"You have kids there not only just my child, but there are other people's kids there and the water should be clear."

Fred Smith with the White Hall Water Authority says iron in the water causes the discoloration.

He speculates its coming from rusty pipes .

"It's just one of those things that crops up with any water system," says Smith.

He says they're doing everything they can.

"[We're] starting a rigorous flushing program,"

Smith says the program "[runs] the water until it gets clear...because we know it's not coming from the well."

City leaders are adding non-hazardous chemicals to the water to help balance it and take away the brown color.

And surles hope it's fixed soon so his money won't keep running down the drain.

"We have to go out and buy water, and we have to come back and still pay our water bill."

Smith says it could be 60 days before the water is completely clear.

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