Longview gives break to customers because of nasty tap water

LONGVIEW, Wash. - Some folks are getting a break on their water bills because they're going on months now with dirty, stinky tap water.

The city hasn't fixed the problem but hopes a discount on water bills will help with some of the frustration while it works out a solution.

Some residents will get 50 percent off for about 14 months for all this trouble.

The residents KATU spoke to Friday say it's a start but they'd still prefer to have clean water over cheap water.

A week and a half ago, the water was brown and gritty. It's cleared up a little bit but some neighbors say they still don't drink the water. They don't shower with it or clean dishes or wash clothes in it, because it makes them sick and smells horrible.

According to the city, the water is safe and contains no harmful bacteria.

The water turned brown because of buildup inside old water pipes. Sediment was loosened up when the city changed its water supply and unsettled those 80- to 90-year-old pipes.

The city's been flushing those pipes out now for weeks and is seeing the water clear up a bit. But neighbors say if the city doesn't flush the pipes every day, the bad brownish water comes back.

"If they take a day off or two, then it goes back to not as bad as this, but it's still got a brownish yellowish tint," said Dawn Wiott. "The smell is horrid. It still smells like blood."

The city also is planning to start replacing some of those old water pipes in four blocks of a neighborhood. A couple dozen more blocks are reporting problems with this stinky dirty water, as well.

The entire water supply is not affected - only a few hundred people and about a couple dozen blocks are affected.

The city has been delivering five gallon jugs of clean water to homes and offering up the YMCA for showers.

No one with the city was available to speak with Friday because the city of Longview is closed for business on that day of the week.