Brown Water Deemed ‘Safe’ by Fairhaven Superintendent
Unless you frequent Flint, Michigan, running water is not really a topic that comes up often in most people's lives here on the SouthCoast.
That trend changed, however, in October 2021, when Fairhaven, Mattapoisett and Marion issued a boil-water order. The 2021 water ban lasted more than two weeks, inconveniencing homes and businesses alike.
Last summer, Mattapoisett's Water Department acknowledged that its system was aging and, as a result, unsightly, discolored water has started to become more commonplace. Mattapoisett says some of its piping is north of 100 years old. The town said the only short-term solution was flushing affected areas, a process happening across town.
These towns are not alone. Similar problems persist in towns including Swansea and Somerset. Some would say the problems in Mattapoisett and Fairhaven are minor compared to the issues in Swansea and Somerset.
We asked Fairhaven Public Works Superintendent Vinny Furtado to come on Michael and Maddie, the Fun 107 morning show, to talk about why the town is having issues with the water.
"It's a self-inflicted wound," Furtado said. "We are choosing to aggressively flush the pipe by a process called super-scouring. Doing so rumbles the sediment. The material that is making the drinking water brown is sitting in the pipe."
Furtado insists that while the water is visually unappealing, it is perfectly safe. "There is no bacterial contamination. There's no need to boil the water."
So, how long will town water be unsightly? Furtado says there are 11 zones to complete in the town, and the first was completed Wednesday.
"The process takes a little time, however," Furtado said. "If everything goes according to plan, the flushing should be done in all parts of Fairhaven by the end of June."