Arlington County

Dirty Water on Tap in Arlington Neighborhood

“How would you like to be in the middle of a pandemic, stuck in your house and you can’t even drink the water?”

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Residents of a Virginia neighborhood say their water is discolored and it may because of a construction project.

The Halls Hill neighborhood near Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington has been trying to get the problem fixed for months.

Virginia Hospital Center is expanding, and some families say it’s affecting their drinking water, as was first to report.

“Thirty to 40 years of murkiness in the bottom of these pipes is coming up into three of our residents’ homes,” said Wilma Jones, who heads the citizens association fighting to fix it.

The project includes building a new water main to service the area, which the county says may be resulting in water flow and pressure changes.

Residents say they’ve been getting discolored water from their faucets at least since February.

They’ve been working with the county, the hospital and the contractor to resolve the issue.

“We feel like this is our mini Flint and we want to put some shine on it,” Jones said.

Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services sent News4 a statement saying it is working with the hospital and contractor to fix the problem and expedite the project. It says, in part, “We believe the new water main construction has resulted in the existing water mains being subjected to abrupt changes in flow and/or pressure as construction activities occur. This has resulted in stirring up sediment and minerals which have accumulated within these pipes over many decades.”

The county acknowledges that can affect the water’s color and taste but that it’s treated water so it’s safe to drink.

“How would you like to be in the middle of a pandemic, stuck in your house and you can’t even drink the water?” Jones said.

The county is also flushing the current main daily to help with the sediment problem until the new water main is in service, which is expected sometime this week. In the meantime, residents plan to keep drinking bottled water.

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