Residents bring tap water complaints to council

Rehabilitation of Divine Park is among the borough's goals in the new year. FILE PHOTO

SPRING LAKE — Several Spring Lake residents complained to the borough council Tuesday about the quality of their public water, with some citing a chlorinated smell and taste and others citing brownish, discolored water.

Madonna McGinty, of Ocean Avenue, said that she’s noticed a strong chlorine smell coming from her tap water recently, which she doesn’t drink. 

“Anytime I turn a tap on in that house, it has a smell to it,” she said at Tuesday night’s council meeting. She said that she’s not sure if she’s just never noticed it before, but over the past week or two it has been obvious.


Councilman Matthew Sagui said that it could be from an influx of water from a different aquifer than the one the borough typically uses if water demands were high.

Another resident Kathy Rickwood, of Salem Avenue, also said she is having similar issues with her water, which she said she also won’t drink.

“I don’t drink the water in this town. I personally think it’s bad. It tastes terrible. But coming out of my tap, there is a very strong chlorine smell and taste, because I did taste it. It smells like a swimming pool.”

She said that she’s been “shocked” by the number of people she’s heard from that also do not drink the water in the borough.

“It’s obviously an issue. I don’t know if it’s more recent that it smells bad, but it’s not just from sprinklers. It’s definitely coming out of people’s taps. I don’t know if anything’s changed but it’s bad.”

Bill Bosco, of Morris Avenue, said that he experiences brown water in his home. When he turns on his taps, the water is discolored for some time before clearing up. He also said his family does not drink the tap water in town.

“It started about a year and a half ago,” Mr. Bosco said, when he returned to Spring Lake from Florida, where he splits his time, and the water was brown. He at first thought it was the water heater, which was over 20 years old, but after he replaced the heater, the water remained brown.

He said the water has turned his showerhead brown, and he’s noticed a gray ring around the bottom of his toilet.

“In Detroit, they thought it was OK to bathe in the water, but then they realized when you take a shower or a hot bath, you breathe it in and people got lead poisoning. So I’m very concerned that I’m breathing in [chemicals],” he said.

“We don’t want to have to pay to test the water but something has to be done.”

Councilman Sagui explained that most of the pipes in the borough are aging and made of iron. The borough, which has over 25 miles of roadway, has been working on replacing the aging pipes as part of each of its road projects: whenever the borough repaves a street, it also goes underground to replace the piping.

“As we fully build and pave a road, it’s been our policy on this council to go underneath and replace everything.” he said.  “It’s going to be a process. You have older iron pipes in the ground and just overtime … it’s stunning how it can degrade over time.

“We can’t change all the pipe under the roads overnight. And that’s probably the brown water you’re getting [sediment from inside the pipe].”

Councilman Joseph Erbe said that this is a “high priority” project for the borough, although it may take a long time to complete. He said he believes it is a problem with the main, and that borough Business Administrator Bryan Dempsey is looking into testing.

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.

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