Residents Concerned About Brown Water

MILWAUKEE —Dirty water running from a kitchen faucet has raised new concerns about lead contamination for some residents on Milwaukee’s south side.

It’s not what anyone wants to see — murky brown tap water, but that’s what Zoila Dominguez said she saw in her home.

She immediately suspected that work was being done on an underground water service line down the block.

Whenever work is being done on nearby lines, lead can leach from those laterals into nearby homes, and that’s what raised the concern in this case.

“Anytime the water discolors like that, that’s a red flag for me, 100 percent,” said Robert Miranda of the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition.

Miranda said the dirty tap water shows the pipes were disturbed, creating a lead risk.

A Department of Public Works spokeswoman said a leak was repaired on a nearby lead service line, and when the main was turned back on, the water “was very rusty” from an iron, not lead, water main.

She said residents were notified and given a brochure about lead awareness.

But Miranda said not all neighbors got that information, and he believes more should be done.

“We need to immediately begin the process of testing that water. That whole block should be tested,” Miranda said. “Without testing, public works officials have no foundation to say there was no lead in the water”.

For now, Miranda is encouraging neighbors to flush their lines, and get a lead removal filter for the faucets.

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