CHARLESTOWN, Ind — For several people who call Charlestown, Indiana home, their problems with the water pumped into their homes date back years, and in some cases, decades.
Several Charlestown residents shared photos of the brown water taken just hours before the meeting. Ronnie Popp's wife sent WHAS11 a photo of a 300-gallon tanker that had been filled at their home off State Road 160.
"Looked like the consistency of medium iced tea," Popp said.
Micah Mattingly showed a photo of his bathtub at his home on Morningside Drive filled with light brown water. He also shared another photo of his laundry washer filled with dark brown water.
"We never know when we're going to turn the faucet on," he said. "It's a gamble. It's a 50-50 shot of are we going to have drinkable water? Are we going to have batheable water?"
Wednesday evening, residents like Mattingly and Popp went to an open house at the Charlestown Arts and Enrichment Center on Water Street to talk about the water, meeting with representatives from Indiana American Water, which took over Charlestown's water system in March.
Indiana American Water said it has already invested $700,000 into the town's water system since taking over and has made several improvements, which include replacing the electrical service wiring and equipment, replacing the chlorine safety and feed systems and installing a generator and solar panels. IAW has promised to invest more than $7 million over the next five years to continue making improvements, which includes making the water quality acceptable to residents.
"That's what tonight is starting, that communication with our customers, but then we want to look to update them regularly on our progress as well," Bill Reedy, the Southern Indiana operations manager for Indiana American Water, said.
The residents said they have been promised changes in the past, but they are optimistic this time around that it will be different.
"They're going to do everything they can, but it's going to take time," Popp said. "It's not going to cure itself over night."
"Hopefully five years down the road when my kids go jump in the bathtub, they don't have to worry about can they bathe? Can we fix lemonade and tea? Can we do the things we need to do for our home?" Mattingly said.
Indiana American Water said it plans to flush the distribution system sometime this summer and residents may begin seeing changes soon.