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 intoTuckerman once again about its water supply.

Neighbors in one area discovered brown water flowing fromtheir faucets Sunday.

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

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

Ledbetter says monthshave passed since he last reported any brown water in his bathtub, sink ortoilet, but it appeared again when he expected least.

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

Ledbetter called the Tuckerman Police Department to reportthe 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 badreputation."

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

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

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

Stone heads up the team responsible for monitoring thequality of drinking water throughout the state. He has tested the water inTuckerman several times before, which has consistently come out clean despiteits sometime murky appearance.

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

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

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

"Tuckerman has an older water treatment plant," Stone said, "andcertainly at some point they're going to have to take a look at a significant reinvestmentin 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 aboutbrown 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 currentlydrawing up a master plan for its water treatment facility.

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

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