Stratford residents say their tap water turned black

STRATFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- People in the small Kings County community of Stratford say they're afraid to drink their tap water after it turned black this week.

Water in Stratford has taken on a different look and smell in recent weeks. Many of the people who live there say even though Friday the color was a light tan and the smell was mild, just days earlier it was much worse.

"It was all brown, it was all smelling nasty like rotten egg, and to take a shower you would still smell like rotten egg," said Stratford resident Lorena Vazquez.

Action News viewer Claudia Contreras sent in photos showing the water looking mostly black.

"Brownish and like just dirt, but it's not for drinking or taking a shower; it's like taking a shower in the river," said Stratford resident Lisa Lopez.

Stratford's Public Utilities District says the water is safe to drink -- admitting they received a few complaints from people about their water looking dark last week and on Tuesday, and flushed out the system both times. An employee says the water has natural minerals in it that can sometimes color the water. They insist the water is tested monthly and is up to state standards.

Still, Vazquez, who is 9 months pregnant, says she won't drink it and relies on bottled water.

"Right now it's sort of OK but you still can see some dirt in the water when you boil it, and it's not good to drink either," she said.

Vazquez says they spend $80 a month on their water bill for water they can now taste in their food.

"You have to boil it first and then put something in there because if not you'll just be tasting it in like the beans and everything," she said

The Public Utilities District says the water is usually flushed out more, but because of the drought they try to only do it on an as-needed basis.

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