Brown Water Battle Causes Long Island Residents to Reach Boiling Point
Malverne residents have had enough of the brown water coming out of their pipes.
Residents of the small Long Island community have meticulously documented — through photos and video — their nearly three-year struggle to get 90-year-old water mains in Malverne replaced. They have even created a Facebook page titled “I love Malverne but hate the brown water” to express their distaste.
The rusty, brown water has stained bathtubs, toilet tanks, sinks, laundry, and even swimming pools during warmer months.
“All of my sinks and tubs are stained,” said Jeanne D’Esposito. “My laundry is stained. No one wants to cook with rusty water.”
Residents concerned over dishwashers and water used for cooking have taken to paying to have their water purified. “I don’t think anyone wants to drink rust, and so we always drink…the filtered water that comes through,” D’Esposito said.
However, both scientists and New York American Water (NYAW) have said the “tap water remains safe to drink and meets all health regulations.”
Still, the water company has heard residents’ concerns and has built many multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art, iron-removal treatment facilities nearby. In addition, the NYAW said it has been working diligently with the village, investing $300,000 in new underground pipes in three Malverne villages.
William Coogan’s street was not one of them.
Frustrated with waiting for help, Coogan took matters into his own hands by installing his own expensive home water filters, which need to be replaced every two to three months after being clogged with rusty residue. “I just got tired of putting my kids into a bathtub that looked like tea,” Coogan said.
“I shouldn’t have to spend a thousand dollars to filter water from the street,” D’Esposito said. The D’Espositos claim they were instructed by NYAW to flush the system regularly. However, when inspectors later realized the water main was at faulty, they were promised swift action in 2012.
“I want them to do what they said they were going to do, which is replace the main in my street,” D’Esposito said.
NYAW pledges to continue their water-main replacement efforts, however, the distribution system still has a buildup of iron that has accumulated over the past century. Despite their efforts, some homeowners are demanding to have their water bills credited in order to reimburse them for the cost of maintaining their their own water filtration systems.
“If the original enamel is worn away, then your tub will be vulnerable to colored water, dyes, or cleaners — and these stains will not come out,” said Branham Jarrell, owner of Georgia Tub and Tile. “Refinishing your tub will put a new coat of enamel on it, which will prevent stains from happening.”