Northeast Fresno homeowners got an update Tuesday night on what’s causing discolored water to pour from their taps and some possible solutions during a community meeting at Kastner Intermediate School.
Close to 200 people attended, some asking questions of Fresno city officials and others explaining what they did to address the problem.
The city investigated water supplies after reports of discolored water from several northeast Fresno homes.
Poorly made galvanized pipes are corroding and leaking iron, zinc and, in some cases, lead into home fixtures, said Thomas Esqueda, Fresno’s public utilities director. Forty Fresno homes had lead levels above federally approved levels.
The solution, apparently, is to redo the plumbing entirely, Esqueda said. Copper and plastic pipes are listed as good substitutes.
This would fall on the responsibility of the homeowner, not the city. Councilman Lee Brand, however, said the city is looking into a possible rebate program to help homeowners with the cost of re-plumbing.
Some residents, like Kelly Unruh, said re-plumbing her home solved the problem.
She bought her Fresno home in 1994, and started seeing discoloration in her water a few years later. She then contacted the city, which encouraged her to get new plumbing. After that, she said, the problem went away.
Unruh said she was “cautiously optimistic” about a rebate plan, and would be interested in seeing if she would qualify retroactively.
For other homeowners, a rebate after the fact isn’t really an option.
“That’s still extra you don’t have,” Angela Partida said. Partida owns a home near Maple and Teague avenues. She says for a working single mother, forking over $15,000 that she doesn’t have to redo her plumbing is not possible, even if she got reimbursed.
Esqueda and Brand reassured Fresno residents that the city is still sampling and testing water in the area, and will discuss rebate plans as well. In the meantime, Esqueda said, the city is seeing if changes to the water’s chemistry, such as lowering the pH level, will help lower the levels of contaminants.