HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long-suffering Hempstead residents dealing with brown water will soon have a direct connection to their water company.
Brown water flows into Jed Dallek’s North Woodmere home.
“That’s the sediment that’s going through the whole house,” he told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
An expensive filtration system lets him at least bathe in it, but he wouldn’t dare drink it.
“[The filter] turned black in a month,” Dallek said.
Their years of complaints have been documented in photos and videos.
New York American Water says it has 74,000 homes in the area at times impacted by brown water.
The water company blames iron naturally occurring and also corroding in old cast-iron pipes. They say it’s unappealing, but not dangerous.
New York American Water is regularly flushing the system, built 16 iron treatment plants and replaced 55 miles of pipes in six years. They still have 400 miles to go, however, and there’s no quick fix.
“I hope I’m alive by the time they get to my house. At this pace, it’s going to take forever,” Dallek said.
That’s why Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen is forming a joint task force to connect impacted residents with the private water company for quicker response.
“To have residents be compelled to put expensive filtration systems in their home because no one was listening to them and no one was advocating on their behalf is shocking to me,” she said.
“We’re going to work with the town of Hempstead on this community committee, and we’re looking forward to connecting directly with our customers,” Lee Mueller, with New York American Water, said.
The company will also soon change the chemical it uses for water treatment, which raises other worries.
“You ingest the water, you shower with it and cook with it,” Malverne resident Bob Schimmenti said.
But New York American Water assures any new treatment is industry-tested, safe and monitored by the Nassau Department of Health.
The new task force will be made up of a dozen impacted residents who will meet monthly with the utility for the kind of flow of information residents say is long overdue.