Jay residents call for long-term solution for persistent dirty water issue
JAY, Fla. (WEAR) —
Dirty tap water is causing an uproar in a Northwest Florida community. Leaders in the town of Jay apologize for the inconvenience but said the water is still safe to use.
"It's just uncalled for that you can't have clean water," Cathy Jones said. "We've got to worry and fight about getting clean water."
Cathy and her husband, Joe, have filters throughout their home. Their clothes have been getting stained in the wash. They have been drinking bottled water since November.
"We've been washing in that dirty water," Cathy Jones said. "We'll try to let it run clear as much as you can and then you just take your shower and it feels like grease."
Her neighbor across the street, Walt Davis, said he has come to expect it.
"I'd say once a week, something like that, we see that the water is dingy and then other times it's really dirty like muddy water," Davis said.
Santa Rosa County Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick said the high school and elementary schools have also experienced dirty water.
The town of Jay released a statement to WEAR-TV and said, "while unsightly, the discolored water does not appear to be dangerous."
The statement said all samples of water have complied with Florida Department of Environmental Protection guidelines and there has not been a presence of chloroform or E-coli bacteria. They are awaiting test results to see if metals are in the water.
Officials believe the town's old cast iron water mains are turning the water a rusty brown. The town has been flushing sections at a time, but the problem has persisted. So now, they have hired an outside contractor to do a system-wide flush. It is slated to start on February 13 during the overnight hours.
Some are still frustrated. Joe Jones has to fight back tears because, for months, town employees have told him the water is safe, though dirty.
"Whenever I asked him, 'Will you drink it?' He said, 'No' and I said, 'Well you want me to drink it,'" Jones explained. "He said, 'We'll credit you for your water,' and I said, 'That's not what we need. We need something done about it.'"
In a statement, the Town of Jay said they are looking for long-term solutions, by either re-conditioning or replacing the pipes. Officials are working with the state to fund funding sources because it is going to be costly.
Read the town's full statement below: