Collins resident upset over brown water

OBSERVER Photo by Andrew David Kuczkowski Jason DeCarlo stored his carbon water filter in this bucket to show the Collins Town Board the severity of the water coming into his home. This filter was not the last DeCarlo needed for his home, as the new one looks very similar in just two weeks of work.

COLLINS — Jason DeCarlo enjoys cider in the fall. But when water coming out of his tap is the same color, it’s obvious there is a problem.

At a recent Collins Town Board meeting, DeCarlo presented his “cider water.” No, no, he is not an entrepreneur and selling it; this cider came from his tap and invaded his pipelines of his house on Smithcrest Drive.

“My (previous) refrigerator is ruined that is (now) sitting downstairs,” DeCarlo said at his home. “It has a water/ice maker on it and it wouldn’t get nothing through, so I kept changing the filters up above. And what happens is I got nothing to it.

“So I ripped the line off and put it in a pail, and I filled this pail up halfway and looked down. It’s full of, what I thought, was mud. And it plugged my filter (in the fridge).”

This orange-colored water was an unpleasant guest to his family’s home. The DeCarlos needed to take additional steps to prevent the issue from disturbing their day-to-day lives. But these steps were not easy on the wallet.

“It’s a hundred bucks” to install the filtration system “and I change it every 90 days… And that’s two weeks,” he said pointing at his now-orange filter that was Q-tip white.

The filters cost around $25 to replace and yet, this was after the fact that he needed to replace his fridge the family now uses.

A simple solution was not easily found. Lead piping to the house? Well no, it’s not lead. And after Jason Opferbeck, Gowanda’s and Collins’ water treatment supervisor, flushed the main line leading into the Taylor Hollow area, it was the same result — orange cider water.

After a quick survey around the surrounding area, 11 neighbors replied. Four stated they needed a filter in the house because of the poor quality of water. Four others added that they have no filter, but there is a clear problem with the water that affects the way they intake it. One has a filter, but not because of the quality of the water and the last two have no filter and no problem.

Though it is a small sample size, the eight that have issues with the water going into their homes were adamant that it should not be this way.

“All I do is buy water, because I don’t drink this water,” Tom Donovan said right before leaving to work. “You know what is funny, my dog don’t even drink this water and my bird. So when I’m watching the animals not drinking the water, I mean that tells you something.”

Others had comments like, “I don’t drink it. I don’t even make coffee with it.” It reached a point for some residents where they spent money, in the hundreds range, to implement a filtration system, but it sometimes couldn’t appease the concern.

On Opferbeck’s end, it’s not so easy. Usually it’s either chlorination or flushing the lines that neutralize most water controversies.

“Well, we flush twice a year and what we tried doing this time is we just started flushing in a different manner and hopefully it helped him out a little bit more,” he said, “and we’ll see where we get by spring.”

Maintaining water is not a simple computer checkup, two clicks and done, but it has its urgencies.

“It just takes time to learn the best way to clean the system,” Opferbeck noted. “We went through and flushed it one-way and maybe it worked and maybe it didn’t. Maybe it’s a flow issue. I can’t tell you how water moves inside the mains.”

Contaminated water has made some headlines in the past couple of years — Flint, Michigan and what they were and are facing with the lead levels. Some area-schools have failed lead testing just a short two months ago. It has now become prominent that water is and remains healthy for consumption.

DeCarlo is concerned, not only for himself, but for his family. It’s the water that is added to their food for cooking; the water that they bathe and shower in, but not to be forgotten, the water they pay for.

DeCarlo finished by asking, “Do you want to drink that?”


Twitter: @Kuczkowski95