BMUD customers concerned about water

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Black Mountain Utility District’s water customers have growing concerns about the water they are paying for after rust-colored water continues to be their normal.

Locals hooked onto BMUD’s lines are reporting foul smelling water, as well as low water pressure, sawdust-like material clogging faucets and pipes, and frequent water outages and advisories. The water is also ruining clothing items, especially white linens, that are put into washing machines for cleaning, according to customers.

Heather Mullins, who said she lives in the Kenvir-Black Mountain area, said her family’s water has not been clear in several weeks.

“Not only is it not clear, but the pressure is awful at times, the odor smells like sulfur and it has ruined so many fabric items,” she said. “We buy bottled water for everything else, except showers and laundry. I hate to even think about what is in the water we shower with. It is definitely not worth $50 a month.”

Another customer living in Holmes Mill reported similar problems with water pressure, noting they have been without water for a week. Rachel Eldridge said the tank in Holmes Mill is damaged, and customers there go without water at least once a week and deal with low pressure constantly.

“They (BMUD) said they weren’t permitted to get the part for the tank, and their boss will only allow them to turn it on for a certain amount of time, so the most we have had in the tank in months has been 5 feet when it’s usually 2 feet and below,” Eldridge said. “At this point, we are looking into hooking our well back up because the price of the water keeps rising, and what’s the point of paying more money a month for less water?”

A rising water bill has also added to the frustration of locals who agree the water is not worth what they continue to pay.

Kayla Roberts, of Baxter, said her water bill has been very high, adding it may have been reasonable a couple of times within a year’s time.

“We have frequent water outages, about once a month or every couple months,” she said.

“We have a filter on our water lines inside the house before it goes through the water heater and it has to be changed often. It turns like a rust color,” Roberts added. “Also, we are having a sawdust-looking material coming through the lines and clogging our shower heads and sink faucets.”

Roberts also shared a photo on Facebook of a set of towels she recently washed using the water, depicting how anything white or light in color turns a dirty brown instead.

“I live in Closplint, and our water has been horrible for weeks now. We went two to three days without any water a few weeks ago, and since we got it back, it has been undrinkable and the water pressure is unpredictable,” said Nevada Lankford.

“The water is yellow and has a bad odor. We also rarely know if there’s a boil water advisory in our area.

“Occasionally, we see it posted on Facebook, but not everyone has Facebook. People should be notified immediately by phone instead of leaving it to chance for them to find out that it’s contaminated. What are people unknowingly ingesting? There needs to be higher standards for our area’s water sources.”

In Evarts, city officials said they are aware of the issues they have been having in the water distribution system and elevated iron levels, occurring all within the past few weeks. Officials said the unforeseen events encompassed a main leak, three residential fires and a well going down, all within a two- to three-week span.

Crews said after much needed repairs, they have not used the well with higher iron levels since Friday.

During the past five days, however, they began a new treatment process to eliminate current and future problems with iron in the water supply.

Because of this, officials said it has been so effective, it is also cleaning the pipes in the system, removing iron stains and residue that has inevitably made its way through customer’s residential lines.

“We have been able to maintain tank levels that have allowed us to begin much needed flushing throughout the system. We simply did not have enough water to ‘waste’ it flushing before this week with all that happened in such a short span,” read an update on the city hall’s Facebook page.

“We understand that flushing is not a ‘waste’ and is an integral part of keeping clean water throughout our service area. We have built up enough now to perform the task of flushing without the risk of using too much water and causing shortages to any of our or Black Mountain Utilities customers.”

Officials reassured Evarts’ customers that the mayor, clerk’s office, and all city employees have worked tirelessly to maintain uninterrupted water services to the best of their abilities.

“Examinations were made across the board, along with collaborations with state officials, engineers, and treatment consultants to find the best solution to resolving the issues we have finally been able to overcome,” the post reads. “We sincerely apologize for the inconveniences, but would appreciate your patience as we collectively work together to better serve our most valuable asset: you, the customer.”

Those in Evarts who may still be experiencing issues are asked to call Evarts City Hall at 606-837-2477.

The Enterprise has also reached out to BMUD for their response, but has not received an answer at this time. When and if a statement from the company is made, the Enterprise will provide an update.