Jay Residents Upset Over Dirty Water, Flushing Project Begins Tuesday

February 12, 2018

The Town of Jay will begin a flushing process on Tuesday in hopes of eliminating discolored water that has been a problem over the last several months. Several residents have express concerns over the unsightly water, wondering if it is safe to drink.

“The water in Jay is so bad you cannot even wash clothes in it. Please help get attention to our problem,” Jay resident wrote to NorthEscambia.com. “I can’t think Flint, Michigan looked worse than this. It’s terrible; please help”.

“This discolored water does not appear to be dangerous to the residents,” Jay Mayor Shon Owens said in a statement.

He said the town has consulted with its engineers and outside consultants to try to identify the cause of the discolored water while continued monthly testing as required by the state. Those tests have shown the town’s water fully complies with state guidelines, he said.

The discoloration, he said, is likely caused by cast iron in the water distribution system and iron sedimentation.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been working with the Jay water system to address the issue, according to Brandy Smith, FDEP external affairs manager.

“We have required the water system to sample the discolored water to confirm the iron levels and verify there are no drinking water standard exceedances that pose a potential health risk to customers. Those samples have been collected and delivered to the lab, and we are awaiting those results,” Smith wrote in an email response to a request for more information. “Iron occurs naturally in groundwater and is not hazardous to health. At higher concentrations, iron causes taste, odor, and staining problems. Even relatively low concentrations of iron can leave reddish brown stains on plumbing fixtures, tableware and laundry that can be very hard to remove. The discoloration can vary from pale yellow to dark brown and may include iron particles.”

Owens said the town is turning to an outside company to flush the lines, with work scheduled to begin on Tuesday, February 13. As much work as possible will take place in the overnight hours.

She said flushing the water system will typical help reduce iron in the system. Flushing involves the use of high velocity water to scour the inside surfaces of the water mains. The process is necessary to flush out iron particles, but it intensifies the discolored water in the short term because it stirs up the water and sediment in the water line.

To be most effective, the water should be pushed from a clean source through the water system pipe and out in one direction, one segment at a time. This process scours out the sediment and discolored water.

“While the water system has been flushing lines, they have not yet been successful in completing a full one direction flush of the system. Changes in the water system over time, new lines, valves and hydrants have made directing the water through the system challenging,” Smith said.

Owens said the Town of Jay is researching other methods to remove iron sediment from inside pipes. And the town, he said, is working with state officials to find funding for the reconditionng or replacement of cast iron pipes in the Jay water system.

NorthEscambia.com reader submitted photos by Catherine Jones, click to enlarge.


16 Responses to “Jay Residents Upset Over Dirty Water, Flushing Project Begins Tuesday”

  1. Gw on February 14th, 2018 11:55 am

    Settling tank with a circulation system will solve the problem, until pipes can be replaced, no filters required. 20 year engineer.

  2. Gas plant on February 12th, 2018 9:59 pm

    Let’s not forget the leaks happening at the OLD jay gas plant no one wants to talk about. Come on Jay, FL we can do better then this to keep up with this cute country town and to be a place we are proud of and not a place that keeps hazardous and health concerns hidden and not taken care of. Leadership just needs to step in and say , “let’s do the right thing”.

  3. Tom on February 12th, 2018 8:14 pm

    Raise the taxes a little and make some moderate to serious infrastructure upgrades to Jay and the surrounding areas. The north end of both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties have some very noticeable problems that include City buildings and housing standards that are in much need of addressing.

  4. Donna on February 12th, 2018 5:28 pm

    This has been an ongoing issue for quite some time. Filters don’t even work because they have to be replaced so frequently. It is disgusting! I would like to see the major drink a glass if it supposedly safe to drink. They should provide water for consumption to all residents until this issue is corrected.

  5. Jus me on February 12th, 2018 3:22 pm

    It looks to me like the mayor is on top of things. The dirty water here has been an on-going issue for a long time and no one has done anything about it till now. Great job Shon!

  6. David Lamb on February 12th, 2018 2:19 pm

    The Rural Water system that I work for uses PVC, CPVC and yellow mite plastic pipes.Only time we get discolored water is when we get a break or pipe repair. The sediment will be forced down line. That is why we have plenty of flushouts installed to flush out the sediment. Systems with metal or cast iron pipe will get rust as the pipes are rusting away They will need flushed more often and too fast a flush will cause the water color in your pipes. Eventually the cast iron pipes will need replaced. That is part of the deteriorating infrastructure that is being talked about in Washington. If you are in doubt of your drinking water… boil. filter( commercial or thru a coffee filter) or buy bottled water.

  7. Lynn on February 12th, 2018 12:33 pm

    Someone needs to call Erin Brockovich. Let her do some investigating. We need to find out why poisons are in our water. Why is it that when we fill out medical paperwork one of the question is do you live in Jay? Also there is a higher rate of cancer in Jay. I do not drink the water myself. It is to dangerous.

  8. mick on February 12th, 2018 12:16 pm

    The saying used to apply to foreign countries “Don’t drink the water” and now if you visit Jay the same saying applies…

  9. My2Cents on February 12th, 2018 11:36 am

    No one should pay for water that nasty! Hopefully citizens will get some kind of credit on their bills.

  10. Well on February 12th, 2018 10:54 am

    That’s terrible to say this meets standards.
    Ready made tea or tin ?

  11. Taree Huggers on February 12th, 2018 9:05 am

    We’ve been saying all along there was something in the water. : )

  12. Nasty on February 12th, 2018 8:23 am

    I lived on city water a couple of years ago was like this looks worse now but would run bath water then would turn the tub brown looked like muddy water wouldn’t drink it then.Shon shouldn’t say that its seems safe to drink unless he wants to get out here and show his town he doesnt mind drinking it.

  13. Big red on February 12th, 2018 7:44 am

    If water looks like tea or apple juice my bet it’s not safe to drink.

  14. mike on February 12th, 2018 7:28 am

    unacceptable. replacement immediately with 20th century pipe technology, i think it’s called pvc, duuuhhhhh. :)

  15. Hoss on February 12th, 2018 6:16 am

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this water can’t be good for you! Hey Mr.engineer , would you let your child drink it?

  16. Bob C. on February 12th, 2018 5:15 am

    Maybe this explains why my knees and joints are so stiff.
    Not my age, it’s the water making me rusty.

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