VILLAGE OF CATTARAUGUS, N.Y. -- When you turn on your tap, you expect clear, clean water to come out. People in the Village of Cattaraugus say what they're getting is anything but that. They say it's brown, and it's not exactly a new issue.
"The water comes out looking like beer. I mean, we're talking about malt beer. A dark beer," says Thomas Bradfield.
The Bradfields say they've been dealing with brown water on and off for more than ten years in Cattaraugus. This week they had enough and posted pictures and video of it online.
"If you're doing white clothes and laundry and stuff like that, well, it's going to stain your clothes," says Bradfield.
The couple says the brown water normally comes out of the faucets on Sundays when the village lines are flushed, but lately it's been happening more often. They came to 2 On Your Side for help getting one thing.
"Clean water," said Thomas Bradfield.
"I guess...is the water still safe even though it's brown?" asked Jennifer Bradfield.
Mayor Wirt Smith has brown water at his house, too.
"The water is safe. It's just discolored," says Village of Cattaraugus Mayor Wirt Smith.
Smith says the Cattaraugus County Health Department tested the water Tuesday and Wednesday and says it is safe to drink. The water for the village comes from a spring. It's piped in through village lines.
"We're undertaking a $3.6 million project to replace the metering system, replace the springs where the water is collected, and also Phase 2 will start hopefully sometime next year, and we're going to be putting in over six miles of new pipes in," explained Smith.
Smith says that because of the drought the village had to fire up its wells and that kicked sediment up into the one-hundred year old lines. He says a full flush to fix the issue wasn't an option.
"We were in a position where if we waste the water that we have to flush all the lines out, we could end up with no water," Smith says.
In addition to the millions of dollars in improvements, Smith says a well -- contaminated years ago -- just got the green light to go back into service by the end of the week.
The Bradfields say they are confident the problem will be fixed. They just want the Village to let them know exactly when the pipes will be flushed next time.
"I think everybody was just so.." started Jennifer Bradfield.
"Upset," her husband finished.
"Yeah. They were just so upset because it's happening so frequently," said Jennifer Bradfield.
"Reacted without facts," said Thomas Bradfield.
"And it's an inconvenience," said Jennifer Bradfield.
Mayor Smith wants people to contact the Village Hall or DPW if they have problems with the water. He says if you just post your complaints online, they might not see them. He says it will take a couple of years to fix everything.