City of Fresno hopes to hire more experts to deal with Northeast Fresno water problem

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The city of Fresno is hoping to hire two outside experts to help deal with its water treatment problems. (KFSN)

The city of Fresno is hoping to hire two outside experts to help deal with its water treatment problems. The two experts would help the city deal with the current water corrosion problem in Northeast Fresno as well as head off problems in Southeast Fresno.

The City Council will be asked to pay experts Marc Edwards and Vernon Snoeyik $400,000 to help deal with the corrosive water problems.

"We've spent nearly a million dollars on the investigation. But we think by bringing on the two most expert people in the country on this subject of water chemistry and residential pipe corrosion we are hopeful we can come to a water chemistry and an understanding how we can clear up the situation in Northeast Fresno to the best of our ability," said Georgeanne White, Deputy Director of Public Utilities.

The City Council will be asked to approve spending $400,000 for their services at Thursday's meeting. The agenda item describes the pair as "Uniquely qualified consultants to assist the city in evaluating alternative control treatment strategies for galvanized pipe."

Edwards gained fame as the man who discovered the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. On a recent visit to Fresno, he said this was no Flint but there is a problem in Fresno.

So far 698 homes have been tested, some level of lead was found in the water of 286 but only 105 had a level above which the EPA recommends action. Although no level of lead in the water is considered safe.

Only 10 kitchen sink faucets had lead, that's where most drinking water is consumed, but 41 bathroom sinks had water above the action level.

Since the city started adding non-corrosive substances to the water there's been a three-percent decline in lead and the water in many homes is less discolored.

City Council members are expected to discuss spending the money at Thursday's meeting.

"I have frequently been critical about the hiring of consultants and going out and spending taxpayers money. This time, I think the residents of Fresno deserve the best consultants money can buy," said City Council member.

However, some residents affected by the discolored water told us they think the city would be better off using the money to pay for new plumbing in homes, rather than hiring consultants.

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