Brown water pops up again in Tuckerman neighborhood - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Brown water pops up again in Tuckerman neighborhood

(Source: Burl Ledbetter of Tuckerman) (Source: Burl Ledbetter of Tuckerman)
(Source: Burl Ledbetter of Tuckerman) (Source: Burl Ledbetter of Tuckerman)
(Source: Burl Ledbetter of Tuckerman) (Source: Burl Ledbetter of Tuckerman)

TUCKERMAN, AR (KAIT) – Complaints have trickled into Tuckerman once again about its water supply.

Neighbors in one area discovered brown water flowing from their faucets Sunday.

The problem appears to be more minor than previous incidents, as city officials blame the brown water on a fire hydrant rather than mechanical issues at its water treatment plant.

The water has likely cleared up now, but neighbors like Burl Ledbetter say they have complained about these problems long enough.

 Ledbetter says months have passed since he last reported any brown water in his bathtub, sink or toilet, but it appeared again when he expected least.

"I got up [Sunday] morning, and I made coffee – totally clear," he said about the water. "Then, I went at noon to take a shower and boom – there we go, coffee, coffee coming out of my faucets."

Ledbetter called the Tuckerman Police Department to report the issue, saying it's the worst quality water he had ever seen.

"Tuckerman's brown water is well known in this area," Ledbetter said. "Until we get it fixed, this community is going to have a bad reputation."

Mayor Larry Bowen spoke about this latest brown water sighting off-camera Monday. He said it was an isolated incident, concentrated near Ledbetter's neighborhood. He claims a fire hydrant shook loose deposits of iron and manganese that discolored the water.

That is a common occurrence, according to Jeff Stone with the Arkansas Health Department.

"The water is safe," said Stone, who is the AHD director of engineering, "although it doesn't mean that there isn't reason to complain when there is off-colored water."

Stone heads up the team responsible for monitoring the quality of drinking water throughout the state. He has tested the water in Tuckerman several times before, which has consistently come out clean despite its sometime murky appearance.

Region 8 News obtained the test results from the monthly bacteria samples taken by ADH throughout Tuckerman for the past two years. The results have always come back positive and have shown no health risk for residents.  

Stone says the issue likely lies in the wells from where Tuckerman draws its water. Those wells contain iron and manganese. The city's water workers monitor these levels, which can occasionally get too high to filter properly. This causes the water to turn brown.

Stone compliments the town for making improvements to its aging water treatment system when needed. He says that has led to fewer complaints to ADH in recent months, though more costly repairs are likely necessary in the future.

"Tuckerman has an older water treatment plant," Stone said, "and certainly at some point they're going to have to take a look at a significant reinvestment in their water treatment plant."

When that project would begin or what it would cost is uncertain, according to Stone.

Ledbetter just hopes that he does not have to worry about brown water much longer.

 "What's the solution?" he wonders. "That's what we want in Tuckerman, a long-term solution."

A long-term solution may be in sight.

Mayor Bowen and other city officials say they are currently drawing up a master plan for its water treatment facility.

They hope to have it finalized and ready to present to the public sometime soon.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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