Irmo, SC (WLTX) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) just released new information on the brown water issue an Irmo neighborhood says they've been having for years.
DHEC says the color is caused by naturally occurring iron and manganese that are in the wells their utility uses to supply the water system. They say they've responded to numerous complaints about this issue from the neighborhood, and that Utilities Inc. was directed to flush the water system.
Because of the flushing residents say their water is now clear, but they aren't convinced it'll stay that way.
News 19 have been given photos of stained whites, stained appliances, and stained bathtubs Stonegate residents attribute to the water.
"Flint, Michigan's been in the big news, well their water was toxic," said resident Brian Dobbe. "Our water looks toxic."
Dobbe says the idea that the water is safe to drink is laughable.
"You don't want to drink it," Dobbe said.
Even the $100 dollar filter he buys has to be replaced regularly.
"Because of the sediment that comes through the water I have to replace the filter every three to four months instead of once a year," Dobbe said.
Resident Amber Suber says even her Brita filter is no match.
"We shouldn't have to spend money to buy bottled water or expensive filters," Suber said. "It's frustrating to know that you have to pay your water bill every month and you can't even drink the water."
DHEC says the treatments that remove the iron and manganese in the well system do not remove 100% of the build up that can occur over time. The utility is now evaluating the water treatment systems used at the wells.
Utilities Inc. and DHEC are both in the process of testing water samples.
News 19 is also taking water samples to Access Analytical lab testing services to see what could be in the water.
"We can test it for common chemicals or contaminants that would cause the color change in the sample," said owner Ashley Amick.
Amick says it'll take some time to get the results.
"There are a lot of questions out there right now, but it's a good thing something's finally happening," Dobbe said.
DHEC says the drinking water system is in compliance with all established health-based standards, but that people who have sensitivity to iron should talk to their healthcare provider if they're concerned about consuming iron in their drinking water.
A spokesperson from Utilities Inc. says they are investigating the possibility of interconnecting with the city of Columbia's water system, but don't have a definite timeline on when that may happen.