Two weeks after snow storm, Lonoke still has brown water

(KATV) Lonoke residents dealing with brown water from their taps are going on two weeks now, since the Christmas Day storm. The City Water Department says it's not an unusual occurrence in the state, but acknowledges, it's taking awhile to clear up.

It isn't a coincidence that the water turned brown around the time of the storm. Basically, iron from the ground got into the system and they're working over-time to flush it out.

Water is in your food, drinks; you wash your clothes and bathe in it. These are some pictures from Channel Seven viewers over the past two weeks, brown water. Wednesday, there is a slightly yellow tint.

Betty Garrison doesn't live in Lonoke, but stopped by El Torito Mexican Restaurant and just heard about the brown water making it through the pipes. She says, "Honestly, we didn't taste anything. It was very good." She adds, "So is it safe?"

Ramses Ruvalcaba works at the restaurant. He says, "We've had the brown water for about 2-weeks. We thought it was weird so we called the department of health and they said it was alright to drink."

Ed Barham with the Arkansas Department of Health is working with the city to resolve the problem. "It's iron and manganese. You can taste them and you can see them but they won't make you sick."

Barham says there's a process to clear it up. "You can back wash the system in the areas it has been stirred up a little bit and you can flush the systems. There are sand filters the city has that filter the water and make it nice and clear."

At El Torito, even with discolored water it is still business as usual. Ruvalcaba says, "We've been serving it and nobody has complained about it."

"It sounds like it is on its way back to normal and nice clear good quality people want to see but it hasn't been a health threat," Barham concludes.

The Arkansas Department of Health initially tested the water to determine the city did not need a boil order. They're due to test it again. It's a routine job for the Department to test municipal water, to make sure levels are safe.

Dry cleaners have had trouble and a hotel spokesperson says they will likely have thousands of dollars in ruined bed sheets and linens.