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Norton Residents Sick Of Dirty, Brown Water

NORTON (CBS) -- Residents say it is a nasty fact of life: faucet water in Norton is brown.

The unpredictable water makes life more difficult, according to residents, not to mention it is disgusting and unacceptable.

Bath time at Penny Heida's Norton home is hit or miss. She showed WBZ-TV what often happens when she fills the tub, the water turns a darker and darker brown.

She said, "The other day it was much worse than this. I think it's disgusting. I have grandchildren. I don't want them bathing in that."

Penny Heida fills her tub with dirty water (WBZ-TV)

"It's to the point now where you can't cook with it. You can't bathe with it,  or you better hope that you are having a good day before you take a shower," Heida added.

Across town, it is a good day at Cathi Charlton's.

"This morning my water was yellow, and now the water is clearer," Charlton said.

But she said, a lot of time the water is brown and awful looking.

What's happening? Norton gets its water from town wells. The town's Water Superintendent, Bernie Marshall, wouldn't talk to us on-camera, but says the water meets health standards.However, it's high in iron and manganese, and that causes the discoloration, especially when they flush the fire hydrants to clear out the pipes.

Cathi Charton (WBZ-TV)

Residents told WBZ-TV that brown water happens more often than not, which can be costly.

"We've had to replace the dishwasher. We've had to replace our hot water heater. We're on our third or fourth washing machine," explained Charlton.

Many residents buy bottled water as well. Heida said she even buys bottled water for her dogs.

Residue in a Norton tub from the town water (WBZ-TV)

The town says the solution is a new treatment plant that will remove the iron and manganese. Work will begin soon and take two years to complete.

Heida and Charlton said they don't believe a new treatment facility will solve the problem, though. They think the town's pipes need to be replaced.

But Norton's Water Superintendent insists the pipes are not causing the brown water.

One interesting footnote: building the new treatment facility was delayed when they found Native American artifacts on the site. Now that they have been carefully removed, work can begin.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports

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