Residents concerned with stench from Flint water - WNEM TV 5

Tough questions

Residents concerned with stench from Flint water

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Officials said the boil water advisory has been lifted in Flint, but there's another water issue that's plaguing residents.

It's an odor residents say will make you gag and they are fed up with paying for water they can't even drink.

"I can't get it close enough to get a drink because I can't hack the smell of it," said Roseanna Thompson, Flint resident. "I've lived all my life on the east side so I've been around the Flint River and that's just what it smells like, it smells like the river."

Every time Thompson turns on the faucet she said a horrible stench pours out. She said it started when the city parted ways with Detroit's water department in April and began using water from the Flint River instead.

Since then Thompson's been stocking up on the bottled variety.

"It's just the Flint River thing. I think everybody's uncertain about it, you know," said Joe Schafer, Flint resident. "I wouldn't drink it and we're paying a lot of money for it too."

According to city leaders, several residents have called and complained about the stench and also voiced their serious concerns about the water's safety.

"Right now, the concerns of the public are validated because of the recent past of hearing about sewage water being released into the Flint River water, the same water that we consume," said Sheldon Neeley, city councilman.

Flint city spokesperson Jason Lorenz said the water is safe.

"The DEQ has given us that insurance, and we test daily to make sure it is safe," Lorenz said.

In fact this past May, in a TV5 I-team report, we took samples of Flint River water and tap water to experts to be tested. The city water lacked fluoride, which helps protect teeth and the treated water did have a higher level of sulfates, which if consumed in high levels could have a laxative effect.

Overall experts said it was safe.

"It could be localized. It could be an issue of flushing the hydrants, getting the right pressure in there, and those are the kinds of things we like to look for," Lorenz said.

Flint residents said they'd like to drink from the tap, but they just can't get past the smell. 

"Unless you're using it for cooking, boiling, something like that, I'd rather get the bottled water," Schafer said.

City officials encourage people to call the water department if there's a problem with their water.

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