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Malverne Residents Seeing Red Over Brown Water

MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Some residents of a Long Island village are fed up with the brown water coming out of their pipes.

Malverne residents have been documenting -- through photos and videos -- their nearly three-year battle to get 90-year-old water mains in Malverne replaced, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported. They've started a Facebook page titled "I Love Malverne but hate the brown water."

Brown water stains mar bathtubs, toilet tanks, sinks, laundry and even swimming pools in the summer.

"All of my sinks and tubs are stained," said Jeanne D'Esposito. "My laundry is stained. No one wants to cook with rusty water."

Residents concerned about dishwashers and water used in cooking are now paying to filter their water.

"I don't think anyone wants to drink rust, and so we always drink our water out of the filtered water that comes through," D'Esposito said.

New York American Water said the "tap water remains safe to drink and meets all health regulations."

And scientists agree.

Still, the water company said it's listening to residents' concerns and has built several multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art, iron-removal treatment plants nearby. It also said it's working closely with the village, so far investing $300,000 in new underground pipes in three Malverne neighborhoods.

But not on William Coogan's street.

Fed up waiting for help, Coogan installed his own costly home filters, which need to be replaced every two to three months when they get clogged with gunky, rusty residue.

"I just got tired of putting my kids into a bathtub that looked like tea," Coogan said.

"I shouldn't have to spend a thousand dollars to filter water from the street," D'Esposito said.

The D'Espositos claim American Water told them to regularly flush the system. But when inspectors realized the water main was to blame, they promised swift action in 2012.

"I want them to do what they said they were going to do, which is replace the main in my street," D'Esposito said.

But the distribution system still has a buildup of iron, accumulated over the past century.

The company pledges water-main replacement will continue.

Some homeowners, meanwhile, are demanding credit on their water bills to reimburse them for the cost of periodically flushing out their systems.

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