"Stinky" Hopewell water expected to be resolved in October

By Nicole Bell - bio | email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - It's been months and the water in Hopewell still stinks. Residents have been told it's okay to drink, but they want to know when their water will return to normal.

Virginia American Water says it doesn't have the technology in place to fix the issue and that the problem will work itself out within the next month -- some customers say that's unacceptable.

"Enough is enough," -- that's the message from, Dianne Pendleton and other water customers in Hopewell and Prince George.

"It's nasty, can't drink it," said Pendleton.

Virginia American Water admits -- the water has a "musty" smell and "earthy" taste.

The company says an algae bloom in the river is causing the problem.

"We're capturing 70 percent of the algae bloom, " said company spokesperson, David Barney.

"Because we've not had the technology in place to address an issue like this," Barney said when asked why can't they can't capture 100 percent of the algae.

The company says it wouldn't make financial sense to purchase equipment to resolve the problem -- because the problem is extremely rare.

"We'd have a technology sitting there not being used," Barney said.

That response isn't sitting well with some customers -- especially since the company just increased rates by 33 percent.

For now, the water provider says the problem will work itself out.

"There are a couple of variable that have to exist and that has to be a change in climate," said Barney.

Pendelton says she'll continue to dish out $50 a month for bottled water until the water that flows from her faucet is back to normal.

The State Corporation Commission is expected to make a ruling on the company's 33 percent rate hike request.

If the SCC denies the request customers will get a refund.

Virginia American Water says the water meets all federal and state health standards and that it's safe to use as normal despite the unpleasant taste and odor.

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