FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The problems with discolored and metal-laden water in Northeast Fresno may be linked to the corrosive water in the city's system.
Under federal law, cities are required to provide not only clean water but non-corrosive water as well.
The number of homes where discolored and metal contaminated water has been detected is less than 200. Some faucets in about 40 homes have had lead above the recommended limit, the likely culprit is corrosive water.
"Per the lead and copper rule, the city is required to provide non-corrosive water," said Kassy Chahaun, Water Resources Control Board.
The city has used substances to reduce corrosion at its surface water treatment plant since it opened in 1993. But only started adding anti-corrosive treatment to wells serving Northeast Fresno in March of last year.
Chahaun said the anti-corrosive could have been diluted by the well water.
Perhaps the co-mingling of the water could be causing a problem and diluting the corrosion control treatment that they are providing at the plant, so the decision was made to add corrosion control at the well heads.
Fresno Public Utilities Director Thomas Esqueda says the anti-corrosive substance mix is being adjusted. His hope is it could solve the problem.
"I believe there is some resolution to the discoloration that doesn't require re-plumbing the home," said Esqueda. "Some of it might be just let our chemistry we've made adjustments to now, let that flow a couple more months and see."
Six schools in the area around the treatment plant have been tested. Low levels of lead were found from some fixtures, and they have been replaced. Other schools will be tested.
"Just those six, and then we are going to be testing some others and we will be laying that map out and seeing where do those schools fall," said Kelly Avants, Clovis Unified.
Now, while the city is required to provide non-corrosive water, the federal law that makes that requirement requires the city to comply by only testing homes built before 1982. The homes in Northeast Fresno affected by discolored water were mostly built in the 1990's.
The city is still investigating the cause of the problem and sending residents flyers advising them of the problem.
The federal rules about corrosive water are in the process of being re-written because this corrosion of plumbing is becoming a problem in cities across the country.