NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) – For many people, the smell of water coming out of the faucet even after flushing their lines is just as strong now as it was before, and that means they are not drinking it – even though it’s been deemed safe.
Many viewers called, emailed or told WSAZ.com about smells and residue in flushed water. West Virginia American Water says sediment in water and a smell after flushing is normal.
Larence Armstrong and his wife, Cindy, flushed the water lines in their house twice on Wednesday. But as of Thursday, the couple is still drinking bottled water and doesn’t plan to stop.
“I can't really smell good, but I can smell it,” Armstrong said of the smell coming from the water. “Just like everybody says, licorice. It's a sweet smell.”
The first time he flushed the cold water lines, Armstrong said he saw sediment in the bathtub.
“I took my thumb and went across the bottom of the tub,” Armstrong said. “You could tell there was a streak where my thumb erased the sediment in there. [It was] a little tainted color, like a light beige or something like that.”
Cindy has kidney problems, and neither of them like the smell coming from their water. Armstrong said he is concerned for his wife’s health and for his own.
“If they're saying that they don't want pregnant ladies to drink the water, hey, I'm not going to drink it,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong also told WSAZ.com that before the “Do Not Use” order was put in place, he and his wife had been drinking the water. He said that, at times in the last two weeks, there was a strange smell coming from their sink drain and that he felt a sensation on his lips from drinking the water but did not taste anything.
“I'd take a few drinks of water and my lips would swell up. And I thought, ‘Well, you know, I'm getting old and stuff like that, so I just thought that was a natural thing,” Armstrong said. “Didn't enter my mind about the water I was drinking.”
West Virginia American Water has said people should not be worried about discolored water that has sediment in it.
“They're flushing water that's kind of a greenish tint and that does come from copper plumbing,” Laura Jordan of West Virginia American Water said. “That shouldn't be alarming. It should go away as you flush.”
Jordan said that whenever a water system or mains are flushed, discoloration and sediment will occur from sediment already built up inside water lines, forced through by increased water flows.
“It is something that's expected,” Jordan said. “It's not an outside contaminant but rather something that is already present in the water lines that needs to be flushed through.”
Jordan said West Virginia American Water has been filtering MCHM, the chemical contaminant, by adding powdered activated carbon to the water. She said the water treatment plant filters have granular activated carbon in them.
Some viewers have told WSAZ.com that their flushed water is fine, while others have had issues with theirs. The company says the water is safe to drink but that a faint odor is expected.