FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Residents who've dealt with rusty and lead water in their plumbing confronted the Fresno City Council Thursday.
Residents believe the city's failure to adequately provide corrosion control in the city water supply lead to the disintegration of their plumbing, causing lead and other elements in their water.
Outside City Hall the water is clear, but inside residents brought bottles of orange water from their homes came from corroded pipes caused by corrosive city water.
Residents who've dealt with rusty, potentially lead-contaminated water for a dozen years, joined others who recently discovered the problem in their homes in bringing their case to the city council.
Many people brought bottles of water taken from their taps that day. While the city has maintained the water is safe, social activist Justice Medina jumped into the fray to challenge the city manager.
"I'm just a bit confused, I came in for clarity, so is the water safe to drink?
Yes or no. Yes. Can you drink this for me, please? Can you drink this for me, please? You're not gonna drink this? Okay, that's cool. I thought it was safe to drink."
Former City Council Candidate Holly Carter made the case for the residents living in her neighborhood. She compared the water crisis in Northeast Fresno to the situation in Flint, Michigan, which drew an argument from council Member Steve Brandau.
"What's happening in Flint, Michigan is exactly what's happening in our pipes," said Carter.
"To go around and tell the community on Facebook that this is our Flint, Michigan is like yelling fire in a theater," said Brandau in response
Carter said, "Do you realize there are people in this audience that have been communicating and meeting with mayors and council members since 2004-- for 12 years they have had water with lead in it."
The city continues to try and assure residents the problem is being looked at, but of the hundreds of homes tested so far lead contamination has been found in 25-percent of the homes. The city points out, only in 10-percent of the faucets. Residents said the city should pay to replace their plumbing.
"Why is the homeowner being held responsible for stuff that is being shoved down their throat," said Larry England, Northeast Fresno resident.
"Now our pipes are all corroded and we have a big issue on our hands, and it's a big issue. How much we are going to have to pay to have our houses re-piped," said Barbara Frederick, Northeast Fresno resident.
The city is just now replacing outside pipes where corrosion was first reported in 2012. Those homes are still receiving bottled water from the city.