Testing continues a year after Fresno water problem surfaces

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Fresno is still trying to get to the bottom of the discolored and corrosive water problem in northeast Fresno.

The city wants to assure folks they are working to clear up the water, but now a year after it surfaced as a widespread problem, complaints about the water continue to come in.

Experts blamed corrosive water coming from the city's surface treatment plant for damaging plumbing in homes and putting lead in the water at some houses. The corrosive water contributed to rusting pipes.

The situation is so bad that several homes have had their plumbing replaced. As part of the treatment effort, the surface treatment plant was turned off months ago with less corrosive well water now being used, but the discoloration has not gone away.

"We are still getting reports of discolored water, the oranges, the yellows the browns," public works director Thomas Esqueda said. "Milky water is one of the ones we are kind of hearing now."

Esqueda says the city is continuing to test the water in homes.

"Right now we are still testing the water quality of homes," he said. "We are still testing about 2,200 homes. We have data back from the lab on 1,800 homes.

The last report in September showed nearly 300 homes with some level of lead in the water coming out of one or more faucets. The latest test numbers are expected next week.

Extensive testing of Fresno's water is being done at Virginia Tech University, and experts hope to have suggestions on how to deal with the problem by the end of the year.

Many affected residents aren't waiting for test results, about 40 have joined a class action lawsuit charging the city with failing to adequately address the corrosive water problem. The suit also names contractors who installed water meters across the city for part of the corrosion problem.
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