CHEVERLY, Md. - Some residents in Cheverly are complaining about the water coming from their faucets. They want to know why it is coming out cloudy and yellow or brown in color.
Laura Porter has been living in her neighborhood for 17 years and said it started happening earlier this year. She has been communicating with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) for some time now, but was not able to get any real answers until FOX 5 got involved.
“I feel like if this was going on in Potomac or Chevy Chase, that it wouldn't be going on this long,” Porter said.
She said she has been repeatedly contacting WSSC because over the past five months, there have been a number of times where her tap water has come out discolored. Photos she took of her toilet tank showed it had also been filling up with sediment.
“[I took] a shower one day and the smell was pretty bad and the wash cloth was brown,” she recalled.
The water and sewer agency sent out crews to flush the system – essentially opening the fire hydrants on the street. But within of days, the murky water came back.
Porter has not received any answers for what is causing the problem so she decided to send samples to a lab herself for testing.
“I got the results today that there is no bacteria and the lead test is still pending, and that there is no nitrates,” she said. “But we didn’t check for iron.”
This week, Porter paid nearly $2,000 to install a water filtration system for her entire house. It is a step she felt she needed to take, but she worries for her neighbors who may not be able to afford to do the same.
FOX 5 contacted WSSC and a spokesperson met us along Euclid Street. He said they have only received one other complaint from the neighborhood.
We asked him if Porter had been complaining about this problem, had WSSC checked with other customers in the neighborhood to see if they have been seeing discolored water.
“Well, not necessarily,” said WSSC spokesperson Luis Maya. “We do it in locations. This one in particular, I don’t know if we have.”
One woman who passed by on the street knew exactly what we were talking about as we were speaking with Maya. She said her daughter had called WSSC about a problem about the water in her home.
“She has called and they did clear it up, but she heard that the further part down or on that side of the street, it was bad still,” said the woman.
Other neighbors we came across said they are experiencing a similar discolored water problem. One resident told us the water tastes like dirt when she has been brushing her teeth.
“My wife is actually giving both of our kids a bath right now, and yeah, the water is noticeably brown,” said another neighbor.
WSSC maintains they are working on resolving the issue and handed out some bottled water to residents, but said they do not have any reason to believe there is a health risk.
“We are looking and testing the valves around the neighborhood to find out if it is a flow issue,” said Maya. “It is not aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t look good, but we don’t have anything that tells us that it is unsafe.”
He said that they will look into reimbursing Porter for some of the cost for installing the water filtration system in her home.
WSSC will also send an inspector out on Saturday to test the water quality inside some of the homes along Euclid Street, Maya told us.
Any WSSC customer who notices a water issue in their home is advised to contact them immediately. Maya said the more calls WSSC receives about an area, the quicker they will realize there is a neighborhood issue. The 24-hour number to call is 301-206-4002.