When Connie Hutch drew a bath Tuesday in her mother's Palestine home, she was shocked by the brown, tea-colored water pouring out of the spout.
The water even left a greasy looking streak, after she scooped some water with her hand and slid it against the side of the tub.
Her mother, Betty Huebner, didn't blink an eye.
“She told me it's been like this for years,” Hutch said. “It gets worse in the afternoon; it's so bad then she can't do laundry.”
The brown water, Hutch said, has a greasy feel to it; Huebner fears it could damage her washing machine.
When Hutch talked to Palestine Public Works Deputy Director Felipe Garcia, she said he acknowledged the problem, and further stated he had inherited numerous problems from Palestine's water system.
Huebner, 79, and her husband, 88, live on a dead-end along Indian Creek Road, where the water lines do not loop. The water in the pipes, therefore, stagnates if not flushed.
The hydrants on Indian Creek are opened, and the water lines flushed, twice a week, Public Works Director Tim Perry said.
Still, about a dozen households along the dead-end have experienced problems similar to those of the Huebners.
“We're working on looping the lines so we don't have this problem anymore,” Perry said. “I know it's a priority, but I do not know exactly when we're going to get to it.”
Perry also said the drastic color of Huebner's water was due partly to the couple's water-heater.
“The water-heater needs to be flushed,” he said. “We tested their water against their neighbors; a good deal of their problem will clear up once they take care of that.”
Betty Huebner remains skeptical. Regardless of the water-heater, her water has been poor for years. She also has a plan to fix the problem.
“If they put an extra half-cent sales tax on everything, that could clear up the city's water problems in no time,” Huebner said. “Every month, they would publish in the Herald-Press exactly how much they've earned, and how they've spent the money. It should go directly to replacing the pipes, not to buying a city employee a new truck.”
The Huebners' representative on city council, Dana Goolsby, said she was unaware of their water problem, but intends to reach out to them.
“I'm dedicated to making sure this problem is fixed for the residents of my district, as well as the city,” Goolsby said. “Unfortunately, I don't know what the solution is yet – but it won't be fast, and it won't be cheap.”