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'What I'm Seeing Is What's Grossing Me Out': Brown Water Flows From Faucets In Five Towns Area

HEWLETT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - There are water woes in Nassau County.

Several residents living in the Five Towns area have brown water flowing from their faucets.

The water was clear Tuesday at Kevin Lopez's home in Hewlett, Long Island. But he says that isn't the norm.

"All our water comes out brown, from the tubs to the sink," Lopez told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.

He says that's the case for all his neighbors, and a complaint heard for years by many people living in what's known as the Five Towns in Nassau County.

Enrico Varani of Hewlett says he has to stock up on bottled water.

"When you see brown water coming out of your faucet, does it look like it look like something that you'd actually want to drink? No. We wouldn't. You can see we don't drink the water," Varani said.

"The water is safe to drink," despite its unappealing appearance, said Richard Kern of New York American Water, the area's water supplier.

(Credit: New York American Water)

"The water is tested every day. It's tested by us. It's tested by the Nassau County Health Department. And the water does meet all applicable standards," Kern said.

"Even if I hear that, it's not enough. What I'm seeing is what's grossing me out," Lopez said.

What customers are seeing is iron sediment that's come loose from build up in aging pipes. The water company says it has replaced more than 39,000 feet of old water mains in the Five Towns in the last five years. Its installed more iron removal facilities and are researching other ways to improve water quality.

"We're working with the Nassau County Health Department to look at raising the pH of the water, which we believe will help," Kern said.

Lopez hopes he'll see an improvement soon.

"Until then, we're going to have to keep doing what we're doing: Just the bottled water, and letting the water run and hope for the best," Lopez said.

New York American Water says while the company doesn't like hearing customers are unhappy, it encourages them to file complaints. Then workers can track where the water quality is most problematic and address it.

The water company says customers experiencing discolored water should run their cold water from the lowest point of their homes until it runs clear.

It also recommends flushing hot water heaters regularly.

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