St. Cloud city leaders address residents’ dirty water worries

One resident had black water coming from faucet, city investigates

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – St. Cloud City officials are investigating if one resident’s black water problem is linked to a separate water woe plaguing the city for more than two years now.

On Tuesday, St. Cloud city officials held a meeting to discuss water worries among residents who say that over the last 2 1/2 years they’ve experienced orange-brownish murky water coming out of their faucets.

However, one resident, Renee Bronson, came to the meeting with a video that shows black water coming out of her faucet last Thursday morning, city officials say they had never seen before.

"I was washing my face and brushing my teeth and the black water began," Bronson said. "I just froze, I just stood there for a minute and I thought 'Is this is really happening? I better record it because nobody is going to believe it.'"

Bronson said the muddy water, forced her to repair her washing machine, refrigerator and alkaline water machine. She is a cancer survivor who still has immune deficiencies.

"I'm very concerned, not just for myself for the whole community and that's why I decided to speak up," she said.

St. Cloud’s interim Public Works Director Brian Wheeler said this is the first time they’ve seen black water like this reported.

“At this time we are investigating that. We don’t believe it is (connected) because that’s the first time we have seen that,” Wheeler said. “It’s not something the resident should have to deal with, it’s something we should correct, but we don’t thin it’s related to the orange water issue.”

The orange water issue is an entirely different issue, city officials say. It dates back to 2 1/2 years ago after the city’s water polishing system failed, flushing sediment and resin into the city’s pipes. After failed attempts to fix it, city officials have since replaced water polishers and consistently flushed out the system. However, Wheeler says some residents still have orange, brownish murky water with resin.

“I’ve been here 7 months working on this. I’m a little frustrated after 7 months, so I can imagine the frustration the resident feels after 2 1/2 years,” Wheeler said. “From my standpoint, we are focused on the problem everyday. The things we have done over the last 4, 5, 6, 7 months are things that have brought positive results, unfortunately the residents haven’t seen the results yet.”

That’s why this week, city crews brought in new technology from Europe called “ice pigging.” Wheeler said it flushes ice into the pipes, which in turn will grab all the sediment and resin still inside.

“It’s our third day and the lines of our ice pigging are completely clean,” Wheeler said. “If this works and remains as we hoped, and we believe it will, then we will come back and expand ice pigging into different areas.”

Wheeler admitting that means some residents may still be dealing with murky water for the next few months, however, says according to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the water is safe to drink.