Housatonic Water Works responds to complaints of bad water quality

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13 Investigates is now hearing from Housatonic Water Works in Berkshire County.

The people who live in that area said they’ve had to deal with bad water quality for years. They told 13 Investigates on Monday, Feb. 14 that they don’t feel enough is being done by the water utility company.

Jim Mercer, treasurer and owner of Housatonic Water Works, said he understands their customers’ frustration.

They are always looking to improve their system, but it takes time. Many regulatory hurdles need to be met to do that.

The residents of Housatonic have told 13 Investigates the water is discolored, it causes their skin to react and it stains their clothes in the laundry machine.

On the issue of discoloration, Mercer said that happens when they clean their system each year.

Whatever is in the water pipes is stirred up and flushed out. They typically clean their system in the springtime.

State agencies have said the water is still safe to drink and there are no health concerns.

"90% to 95% of the time, the water has no discoloring to it. I think most importantly, you have to realize that we are a regulated public utility. All of our water is tested and there are no bacteria in it," Mercer said. "Are there things that need to be improved? Yes."

Residents have shown 13 Investigates pictures of discolored water. From those photos, Mercer believes that happened when there was manganese in the water in 2018, 2020, and 2021.

Housatonic Water Works has hired engineers to look into it.

The water utility company is regulated by the state of Massachusetts, so it has to get approval to remedy issues.