Lake Station residents concerned about brown tap water, say problem has persisted for months

LAKE STATION, Ind. (WLS) -- City leaders in Lake Station, Indiana, are trying to ease residents' concerns about brown water pouring out of faucets.

Michael Larson got an unpleasant surprise when he turned his shower on the morning after Christmas.

"Hot water ran fine, and then when we put on the cold water then it started turning brown little by little, and then got really dark," he said.

As the water kept running, the color got worse. It was the same in another home a few blocks away.

"I got up today and it was all brownish and nasty," Debra Morales said.

Lake Station residents said they've been battling water issues for months.

"Some days it's fine, yesterday I didn't have any problems with it. Today we go to take showers and you can't," Morales said.

Superintendent of Public Works Adrian Vera said the town has been trying to clear the murky water for months.

The brown water started showing up after a water main break over the summer.

"Once that happened we had all kind of high water pressure flowing through our pipes throughout the city. That stirred up a bunch of sediment," he explained.

A week later, he said, a freak computer glitch at the city's water treatment plant made the dark water problem worse.

"That let some of the recycled water into a clear water well, and it got into distribution," Vera said.

"They told me again today it's a water main break, they said to run the water for 20 minutes in the bathtub and it would clear up. So if we do that are they going to give us a break on our bill? Absolutely not," said Morales.

However, while the water is unappetizing it is safe.

"We've done extra testing just to make sure there's no bacteria, E. coli, or anything harmful in the water," he said.

"I think what irks me more is they keep saying the water is fine to drink. I'm not drinking that water," Morales said.

Officials hope a full flush of the city's hydrants will clear out what's still lurking in its 50-year-old water pipes.
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