Officials say discolored tap water in Compton 'poses no threat to residents' health'

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Sativa Los Angeles County Water District held a press conference Tuesday to explain an aggressive new program following reports about discolored water in the Compton and Willowbrook area.

"Four times a year, crews open fire hydrants to flush out the build-up of minerals from inside the pipes," officials said.

The district says the water delivered to homes during "flushing" may be discolored, but does not pose any threat to customers.

Officials were met with protesters, who screamed in outrage at the water company. They don't believe that the water is safe enough to drink, and aren't convinced the flushing works.

Inspectors from the California Water Boards were in the neighborhood Monday checking the water and collecting samples to see what's in it.

Resident Martha Barajas said "We're scared. We hear about all these illnesses that can come from dirty water and we are in fear."

Residents say they are dealing with brown, rust-colored water.

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"We see them here flushing that water hydrant but then half an hour later the water is brown," said resident Eddie Lewis.

The water in this unincorporated part of the county comes from the Sativa Water District. The service area is about half a square mile and has just 1,600 customers. The district says minerals from deep well water can accumulate inside water pipes and workers flush the system four times a year to clean it up.

In a statement Monday the district said, "...discoloration in the water we serve our customers leads to concerns about the safety and appearance of the water. The water delivered to homes during our flushing process may be discolored, but it poses no threat to residents' health and is safe."

But resident Karen Lewis is skeptical.

"I want to see them dip children or their grandchildren in that water or drink it or cook with it. It is not safe" she said.
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