Brown water solution in Oakhurst underway with construction of new water treatment facility

OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- It is not something you want to see when you open the tap, but discolored water is something Oakhurst residents said they have been dealing with for years.

"The only thing we do is wash clothes, and basically bathe in it. Everything else is done with bottled water," said Michael Sesto, Oakhurst resident.

They said the water is dirty water tainted with traces of uranium and arsenic. Now, officials said a solution to the murky water is on its way.

"This will bring the water quality of Oakhurst, the Hillview Water Company, in compliance with all state and federal water requirements," said Rami Kahlon, California Public Utilities Commission.

State and county officials came together on Friday to mark the start of a clear future for Oakhurst water.

The Oakhurst-Sierra Lakes Water Treatment Facility is a step closer to completion. It includes facilities to treat for iron, manganese, arsenic, and uranium-- as well as massive water storage tanks and new wells.

The president of Hillview Water Company said this will help with the discoloration, but customers could still see that brown water throughout the construction of the plant.

"They won't see a lot of change until the project is done, then we'll have to do extensive flushing to get all the precipitation out of the pipeline so it doesn't come through," said Roger Forrester, Hillview Water Company.

The Forest Ridge and Sierra Lakes project are grant funded projects, so customers won't have to shell out the money. However, customers could see higher water bills down the road.

"As these two treatment plans come online later this year and spring 2018, there will be some additional expenses associated with that," said Kahlon.

But residents are hoping it's finished sooner rather than later.

"The quicker they can get it done, the better it will be for everybody," said Sesto.

Water tanks similar to those being built are already online in Sierra Lakes. Those being built need some more work done, but they are expected to be online by the end of this year.
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