Brown and yellow water has residents near Canton concerned, water department says it's safe

CANTON, Ohio - Brown and yellow water is coming out of faucets in one neighborhood near Canton.

Residents say it's been affecting hundreds in their community for several weeks now, and no formal statement has been made by the city - until Wednesday.

Neighbors in the West Manor Neighborhood say it's hard to believe the discolored water is safe to drink, noting a metallic taste and slight odor when they drink it.

Julia Bentley lives on Ellwood Avenue and says her primary concern is for her one-year-old daughter, Lakota.

"It's not anything I want to bathe my daughter in, it's not anything I want to drink, it's not anything that even want to brush my teeth with," said Bentley.

Other neighbors are also upset, especially after reaching out to the Canton Water Department about the issue.

Sandra Lutz and Karen McFadden say many of their white clothes have been ruined by washing them in the water. They are also buying extra bottled water to stay hydrated.

"I think we should be compensated on the water bill, I think we should have water bottles available to us for drinking I'm not even letting my dog drink it. He's getting the bottled water," said McFadden.

Tyler Converse, the Superintendent of Canton Water, says drilling mud was dumped into the Beach Street quarry near the city's Sugarcreek wellfield - one of Canton's main sources of drinking water. The city had to pump water out of the northwest wellfield instead, causing unintended consequences in the West Manor neighborhood where neighbors are complaining of discolored water.

Converse says the discolored water is a result of an increase in the amount of iron sediment. He says this is cause for concern.

"There's a good chance, or most certainly it's at levels greater than the .3 secondary contaminant level," Converse said.

According to the EPA's secondary drinking water regulations, the maximum level of iron is three milligrams per liter.

"It's an aesthetic concern, and when it gets above levels that are .3, there are tasting and odor issues with the water."

Still, Converse says the water is safe to drink. But residents are not convinced.

"They're telling me it's safe to drink, but they're not releasing any numbers on what is in the water."

The EPA says it will not be conducting its own testing for other possible contaminants in the water, such as lead, copper and chlorine to make sure it is indeed safe.

As for the Canton Water Department, the superintendent says this issue should be fixed by September. He also says residents can fill out a claim form and submit their case to the Canton City Law Department.

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