Mabton locals say their water smells like a sewer; mayor says it's safe to drink

Mabton locals say their water smells like a sewer, mayor says it's safe to drink

MABTON, Wash. -- People in Mabton say methane gas leaked into their water, turning it brown and making it smell bad.

"It's been brown for a long time," said Tammy Rehms who lives in Mabton. "It smelled like a sewer coming out of my faucet and my whole house smelled like a septic tank."

Rehms said since August, the water coming from her faucet is sometimes brown, slimy and smells like a sewer.

She said she buys bottles of water at the store to drink, has to shower at work and has to take her clothes to a laundromat to be washed.

"I expect to have something that's consumable, that we can actually use," she said. "I can't wash my clothes in it, I have to go to Sunnyside or somewhere else to wash my clothes because they come out smelling. I shouldn't have to go to work smelling like a sewer."

Mabton Mayor Laura Vazquez said the city had a problem with their filtration system and built up pockets of methane gas got into the water, causing the smell. She said the city is fixing the problem by flushing out the lines.

"If they come across brown water all they need to do is go into their bathroom, go into their kitchen turn on their water and let it run a few minutes," Vazquez said. "Once it's flushed out, it's flushed out."

Vazquez said the water is completely safe for people to drink.

However, some living in Mabton said they pay around $160 a month for water that they don't even want to drink.

"We're tired of nasty water," Rehms said. "We're spending top dollar for water, you go to Sunnyside, Grandview, anywhere else and they have good drinking water, good quality water and their bills are half of what ours are."

Rehms said the city came out Thursday to flush out a hydrant in front of her house, but the smell is was back on Friday.

Vazquez said they don't have a city employee who tests the water as of right now, so they use a team from Selah who monitors it's quality.

KIMA spoke with the City of Selah. They say a team tested the water in Mabton back in July as a favor to the city and gave Mabton city leaders recommendations on how to improve its water. Selah says its crew has not been back to test the water since.

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