Stinky Water That Tastes Bad Too, Plagues NC Town

HARRISBURG, N.C. – “Sounds like you don’t trust what town leaders are telling you,” asks WCCB Charlotte’s Morgan Fogarty. Harrisburg resident Tony Arellano replies, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.” His tap water stinks, and tastes bad, too. He says, “I lived in a 3rd world country many years ago and I’ve never seen something like that.”

It’s been bad, he says, for about the past month, and, it made his pets sick: “Diarrhea, puking left and right.”

The putrid smell and dirty taste overloads his water filter and coffee maker. He’s been buying water bottles in bulk, for drinking and cooking. Fogarty asks, “So, you’re just avoiding the water altogether?” Arellano says, “Correct.”

When WCCB contacted Harrisburg town leaders, they referred us to a website, which says an algae bloom in the Tuckertown Water Reservoir in Albemarle is to blame for the “earthy, pond-like odor and taste.”

Harrisburg buys 95 percent of its water from Concord, which buys some of its water from Albemarle. Town leaders say as of right now, it is safe to drink. It’s being treated with chlorine and it’s being tested five times a day. Mother Nature, they say, has to do the rest.

“I mean, algae, is that good for me?,” wonders Harrisburg resident Cassie Thompson. She says she noticed the funky water June fourth. “I know that because I had surgery that day,” she explains. She worries about the water and her incision, as well as daily chores. “I noticed when I start the wash, I could smell the washer in the other room,” she says.

Fogarty smelled a sample of water taken from Thompson’s house on Tuesday. It’s from her kitchen sink. She described it as smelling like chlorine and pond water. Thompson says to her, it smells like, “Musty creek water.”

“Have you seen this info that town leaders have put online to concerns from people who are worried about their water quality?,” Fogarty asked Harrisburg resident Shannon Smith. He replied, “So this is the first I’ve seen of the report.”

Smith buys bottled water, too, for his people, and his pets. Fogarty asked, “What would you like them to do, in terms of getting to the root of (this since it seems)…you think (there is) is a little bit more to it?” Smith suggested, “Maybe a study, maybe invite in a second party.”

Arellano and Thompson agree with Smith: they both also suggested hiring a third party testing agency to monitor the water. In the meantime, town leaders say recent rainfall should help, and they expect to see improvement over the next few days.