RIDGETOP, Tenn. (WTVF) — Neighbors in the Robertson County town of Ridgetop said they may have been drinking, cooking with and bathing in water contaminated with raw sewage for an entire month.
The White House Utility District alerted its water customers to the problem last week after the utility said the Ridgetop sewer department improperly connected one of its own residential sewage lines into the WHUD water line that sends water directly into home faucets.
Since then, WHUD has said it has disconnected the sewage line, and that they’ve flushed their water lines. A boil order was also lifted after water tests deemed it safe for drinking. But a spokesperson for WHUD said Monday it is still waiting for information from Ridgetop about how and when the department improperly connected the sewage line to the waterline.
Ridgetop neighbor Morris Webb said he lives across the street from a newly-constructed home, where he suspects the faulty connection was made after talking to a worker who made the discovery at the line about a week ago.
“The guy looked shocked and he said, ‘Well, whoever put this sewage connection in, tapped into the freshwater,'” Webb said.
“I thought about the times we bathed in the water, drank it, cooked with it,” Webb said.
Webb said about a month ago — when new owners moved into the home across the street — he began noticing a sewage smell in the water along with a distinct color.
“It was a foggy greenish-brown, almost like pond water,” Webb said.
In the month since Webb said his family has had headaches and diarrhea.
On Friday, WHUD told NewsChannel 5 that complaints about an odor in the water began surfacing the previous Sunday, May 22. But Webb said he reported the odor of his drinking water to WHUD a month ago.
On Monday, WHUD said it would not be able to get information on Webb’s report until business hours on Tuesday, but that the utility investigates all water quality complaints.
“Everyone of us affected by this is going to live the rest of our lives being afraid to turn the water on and take a drink from the faucet,” Webb said. “Because if something this outrageously stupid can happen, who’s to say it can’t happen again?”
“We’re all going to be wary of drinking our own water — no matter where we live — because this has happened, and we’re not going to forget it,” Webb said.
Webb wants answers from City of Ridgetop leaders, who he says still haven’t confirmed how or when this happened.
Several emails that NewsChannel 5 to several city leaders in Ridgetop asking for more information have not been returned.
“By them behaving the way they’re doing, it just adds insult to injury and it makes me mad,” Webb said.