Southern California

“Our Water is Black”: Families Worry Over Foul-Smelling Tap Water

"They say it's safe to drink. I don't know anyone who would want to drink that," a neighbor said

Families in a Southern California neighborhood worried by black and foul-smelling water pouring from their faucets, toilets and showers say their water company is not doing enough to fix the problem.

"We don't want to drink our water, because our water is black," said Gardena resident Emy Sebastian. "My daughter says, 'Mommy the water is black and it stinks. Why does the water stink?' She doesn't want to wash her clothes."

Diane Morita and her neighbors say it's been happening off and on for months. She said the murky water "has an odor of rotten eggs or sewer smell."

"I'm concerned because it's getting worse, if it's even safe," Morita said.

"I refuse to drink the water," said resident Don Inouye. "I run it through a filter and I drink bottled water."

Some residents wonder if the black water is connected to their recent health problems. Sebastian said she and her daughter have gotten sick from drinking the tap water.

Morita contacted Golden State Water Company, which sent someone out to look at the sample she collected and to flush the nearby hydrant.

"They say it's safe to drink. I don't know anyone who would want to drink that," Morita said.

The utility told NBC4 it was an isolated situation and it's looking into the cause.

"While, yes, the water is clear right now we will continue to investigate to determine what caused it last Wednesday, what has caused it in the past so that we can prevent it from happening again," said Golden State's general manager, Kate Nutting.

While the search for the source continues, residents say they continue to spend money on bottled water and replacement filters for their water heaters, blackened by the sludge.

"It's horrible, terrible, terrible. We're scared," said.

A resident said the superintended for the water company told her he'd credit her bill $10 per month for the added expenses she's incurring. She said it was not enough.

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