HUMPHREY, Ark. – Frustrations are spilling over in Humphrey Arkansas after brown water has been running from their faucets for years.
When Sonia Ables and the rest of the Humphrey community turn on their water, they never know what color it will be.
“Water goes from clear to yellow to dirty brown to looks like somebody has actually used the bathroom in the water,” Ables said.
She and Brandi McDermott said it’s a problem that’s only gotten worse in the last eighteen months.
Now McDermott buys bottled water for cooking and drinking.
“We spend about $75 a week on bottled water,” McDermott said.
When it comes to doing laundry, most people take a drive about 11 miles down the road to Stuttgart.
“I pulled them out of the washer and they were brown,” McDermott said.
“Most of the time I take my lighter clothes and my bed linens to the neighboring city,” Ables said.
A representative from the Arkansas Department of Health said the well contains a significant amount of iron. That is what is causing the discoloration. They are working with the water operator to remove it, but ultimately it is safe to drink..
“Would you drink this? because I’m not drinking this,” McDermott said.
Humphrey Mayor Cleveland Hatch doubled down on the fact the water is safe to drink but admitted he does not.
“I haven’t drank the water in years,” Hatch said.
He did say there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
“It’s not isolated to just the certain individuals it affected me also. I feel their pain,” Hatch said.
He said it goes beyond the well and boils down to old pipes.
“They are probably 80 plus years old,” Hatch said.
Hatch said they are working on applying for grants for new water lines.
“We have no indication that yes I have actually filed for this grant, I have actually applied for this,” Ables said.
When asked for any kind of documentation of the grants he did not have anything in his office.
“I have a person who is doing that work for me. I don’t have it in my hand right now,” Hatch said.
We gave Mayor Hatch contact information to send either a number or name of the grant writer or the applications. So far, he has not sent either one.