Residents of Fleming- Neon have reported isolated incidences of “dingy water” coming out of their pipes and two elementary schools that get Fleming-Neon city water were forced to dismiss school early one day last week because of the brown water.
Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips first reported on the problem at the August meeting of the Fleming-Neon City. At that time, Phillips said the Water Department thought it had cleared the situation up but two council members said they had recently experienced the brown water in their own lines. City water workers were called to Fleming- Neon Elementary School Monday, August 23, to look at the lines there, and school was dismissed early at both Fleming-Neon Elementary and Martha Jane Potter Elementary at Kona on Tuesday, August 24. Lines at both schools cleared by the next day and the students returned to classes. Phillips also inspected water at the McRoberts Elementary School, but there were no problems there.
Phillips said the lines are mostly clear now and that the problem had been caused by a pump that didn’t stay on long enough to allow tanks to fill all the way up, which in turn caused sediment from the tanks to get pumped into lines. Phillips said that created problems at the main plant because the pumps there would then “outrun” the water that was coming into the plant, which caused the clear water wells in the plant to run out. He said the situation has been fixed, but that there are still some pockets of dingy water in the system and it could be in hot water tanks in people’s homes as well.
“There is still some dingy water in the pipes,” said Phillips. “It may be coming in through hot water lines, and we’re trying to get it cleared up as soon as we can.”
The water in the lines has been treated and usually clears after water is run for a few minutes. This helps homeowners, but it makes it hard to determine exactly from where the water is coming since it is clear by the time workers arrive. Other water systems in the county have also experienced problems with brown water for reasons ranging from flushing fire hydrants to a lack of circulation in lines that terminate without being run back through the system through other pipes, which causes the water to stop moving and allows sediment to settle in the pipes.