Talk to Ten: Brown Water Pours From Faucets in Scituate Homes

At NBC10 Boston's Talk to Ten phone-a-thon this week, we answered your calls about stories in your neighborhoods. In Scituate, Massachusetts, multiple viewers told us about the concerns they have about their drinking water.

Several of those residents even gathered Friday afternoon at the library to sign a petition to create an independent water commission to tackle the brown water problem.

The town says it is handling the problem, but some say it's not being fixed fast enough.

"I looked down and then the water was the color of soda," said Megan Gajewski of Scituate.

Brown water has been plaguing people in Scituate off and on for more than two decades.

Gajewski says her white tub has permanent stains and sediment in it.

"We have never used it because we can't because the water's always brown," said Gajewski.


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Brett Tyson says he's disgusted giving his kids a bath.

"It's dirty water. You put water in your tub and you put your child in the tub and it's dirty, and you let the water out and there's sediment on the bottom of the tub," said Tyson.

"That's the original pipe," said Scituate Town Administrator Jim Boudreau.

Boudreau says the thick build up of sediment inside the pre-1936 unlined cast iron pipes has been a big part of the problem.

"Those pipes have a life span of 50 years. We had one pipe that was [from] 1901," said Boudreau. "So these pipes should have been replaced a long time ago."

Boudreau says the town is finishing up a $22 million, five-year project to replace 22 miles of that pipe this fall.

Flushing the system, which will begin again Sept. 9, makes the brown water problem worse before it can get better.

"This is iron in the pipe and the water, and it sits in the bottom of the pipe," said Boudreau, holding up a bottle of water with sediment in it. "And what happens is as the water get riled up, it picks up all the silt in the pipe and causes discolored water."

Boudreau admits the pipe replacement project took two years longer than originally planned. But he says that's because ripping up multiple roads at the same time to replace the pipes caused too much congestion.

"It's expensive, it's time consuming," he said. "I think the town's being aggressive, as aggressive as they can."

At a town meeting, Boudreau says they hope to get another $3 million to replace two-inch pipes in several neighborhoods that are too small to be flushed.

That's scheduled to be done next spring and summer.

Then they can set up a regular cleaning and pipe replacement schedule.

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