Pascoag residents frustrated with dirty water
By: Rebecca Turco
PASCOAG, R.I. – Residents in the Pascoag area have been dealing with dirty water on and off for years now – and some say they’ve had enough.
Last weekend, roughly 100 homes had discolored water coming from their faucets, according to Pascoag Utility District General Manager Michael Kirkwood.
He says the problem boils down to 100 year-old cast iron water mains that collect rust. Whenever there is a big change in water pressure, like when crews fought a fire nearby two weeks ago on Camp Dixie Road, the rust gets pushed into the water.
"We flushed until the water was clear in three different hydrants," explained Kirkwood. Residents with dirty water were also encouraged to run their faucets until the water cleared.
Kirkwood said that worked for most residents, acknowledging the long-term solution is fixing the pipes. The utility company is undergoing a $2.4 million capital project to clean and line the pipes with a cement-like material to help keep the rust at bay.
Nick Delmonaco, a Pascoag resident, tells us he’s been dealing with dirty water on and off for the past three years or so. "Water is a lifeline, and when you don't have it, it gets tough," he told ABC6 News.
Delmonaco says he spends $30 to $40 a month on bottled water for drinking and cooking because he doesn’t trust the tap water.
Kirkwood says the water is safe to drink, even if it may not look it. "It's pretty innocuous but when you see iron in a glass of water, you don't want to drink that - whether it's healthy or not, and it isn't a health issue but you still don't want to drink that,” he said. “So we understand it's tough on our customers."
Delmonaco finds that hard to believe. He has a message for Kirkwood: “Until you come personally and drink this because you say it's okay, I'm not going to take your word for what it is."
Anyone with ongoing water issues is encouraged to contact the Pascoag Utility District.
© WLNE-TV 2017