Residents dealing with dirty water want reduced bills

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Neighbors in the Heritage Park subdivision don't think they should be charged for the water they had to run to get rid of dirt and sediment in pipes.

"Our bills need to be prorated or discounted at some rate because this is not our doing or our usage," Trish McFarland, a resident, said.

McFarland said she has 110 other neighbors outside the city limits of Friendswood who have agreed to sign a letter to Si Environmental, the company contracted to treat their water.

The residents said that when sediment and a strong smell of chlorine appeared in their water, their water company told them to flush outside and inside lines for 15 minutes, twice a day.

"That's hundreds of gallons of water that I shouldn't have to pay for," McFarland said. "We're flushing out water and cannot use the water. We are told to do that every day to get the brown water and sediment out."

Kristin Wood lives nearby.

"My water reeks of chlorine, like beach," Wood said.

She said the sediment is gone but her water still appears brown. The odor has affected her, she said.

"I actually took a shower last week and started coughing and actually had an asthma attack. I had to get out and do a breathing treatment," she said.

The company that provides water treatment said they had been flushing the lines using a different disinfectant that was removing the built-up sediment in the lines.

Si Environmental said that process was finished Wednesday and the water has always been safe to drink.

"They may have stopped flushing yesterday, but what they have put in the lines, how much longer is that going to flow through the lines?" Wood asked.

The board president of the Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 55, Bob Squires, said the water should continue to improve.

"We are back using surface water and the system is being lightly flushed to remove whatever chlorine is still in the lines. The surface water we receive has a chloramine disinfectant introduced at the water plant that is much less detectable to the user," Squires wrote in an email to Local 2 reporter Jace Larson.

Squires did not respond to a followup email sent to get more information.



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