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Humphrey Water

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HUMPHREY, JEFFERSON COUNTY (KATV) -

The residents of one Arkansas town want answers... but more than that, they want drinking water that is not discolored.

It is a problem that has existed for years... but it seems to have gotten worse lately in the Jefferson County town of Humphrey.

Although they have been told the water is safe to drink, most residents of Humphrey are choosing to trust their eyes rather than their ears.

The pictures have been flooding Facebook...posted by unhappy Humphrey residents who say their drinking water...especially over the last few weeks...has been drastically discolored.

They claim clothes run through washing machines have been ruined and some citizens have become ill.

"Two people have been to the doctor and was diagnosed, you know, that they was sick from bad drinking water," says Michael Hodges, a Humphrey city council member. "They didn't say that it was from Humphrey but that's what the diagnosis was. And we've got a problem. And we have no money to fix it."

Hodges is a also a lifelong resident of Humphrey, population 557.

He says the iron pipes carrying the water from a modernized water plant are older than he is...and therein lies the problem.

When the pipes get flushed or rattled, rust flakes off. It also happens when there is a break...and Hodges says there have been a lot of breaks this summer.

All the city can afford to do is patch and repair, even though replacement is the long-term answer.

"We have a state of the art water plant that makes good water," says Hodges. "You know the well is plenty deep enough. The filters are good. Most of the time it is good drinking water. But here lately...we think the problem is with our old pipes."

The Health Department says only one water sample from Humphrey tested positive for bacteria. That was back in August.

But the AHD says all samples tested before and after that have been safe.

Air date: October 9th, 2013