Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Something In the Water

According to Carrie Underwood......There must be something in the water. The song is beautiful, spiritual and a hit. However, here in Mulvane America, that something in the water is neither beautiful nor spiritual and it is definitely not a hit if the Mulvane facebook page You Might Be from Mulvane, KS if....... is any indication of the feelings of Mulvanites.

To be fair, Mulvane has had a sketchy past with their water at best. As a resident of this little utopia for the better part of 40 years, I personally know that there have been times after a big rain that you would turn the water on and it would run brown with what we like to tell ourselves was mud. The water has at times smelled bad and tasted worse and I remember one time my mother spent a week about to lose her mind with a smell in our kitchen. It was at the sink and she thought something had gotten in the pipes or down the garbage disposal and rotted. She cleaned, she scoured and she even took apart the pipes. When she found nothing and also found she couldn't reassemble the garbage disposal, she called a plumber. As he stood there looking at her disassembled sink and pipes and she explained why she had done it, he just shook his head and laughed. Why? Because he knew what every other long time citizen of the town knew. It wasn't her was the water! 

Before bottled water was a thing, we drank the water when necessary....but only when necessary. There were times when we would get notices to boil all water before using and other times where we voluntarily boiled the water because with the smell and taste, we knew something icky was going on.

Through the years, the city would get the occasional complaint if the smell got too bad or the water was too discolored and the city would always reply with the information that it was because of the water source and not because of anything the city could help. We all then just put on our big kid pants, held our nose, drank the water and quit complaining.

Over the years, the water has gotten better at times and then fallen back to worse. Since I know very little about water, I did a little checking. Mulvane citizens are allowed two kinds of water and well water. Well water is just that. It comes from an on property well. Many with in ground water sprinklers, pools or gardens have wells and many of them were dug years ago. The city has no access to these wells and therefore, after the initial cost of digging the well, the homeowner basically has free water. The main problem with wells is the initial expense and the possibility of ground water contamination. Because of this, drinking well water is NOT advised.

With city water, it is just that. It is water that the city owns and distributes to the town. The price of Mulvane water is not cheap and if you have a pool, garden or sprinklers, in the summer time your water bill can rival your electric bill (the two happen to be on the same bill by the way.) Our current city water comes from another town called Augusta and is piped in, treated and then piped on to residents and businesses. When Augusta first became our water source, there was a decided difference in the water. It was clear, it didn't smell and it tasted good. The side effect of this good water was a raise in our water rates. Then, the water started going down hill, while the rates continued to climb.

When we as a town voted for the casino which the city told us would be a boon for our economy and make many things better in our community, we had high hopes for everything...including the water. After all, you couldn't have a casino, restaurants, an arena and a hotel and have nasty water, so surely...... The revenue has at times been good, but apparently we traded $$$ for water. Since I am not a casino type person, I have never been out there but, those that I know have, say the water is good, clear and dare I say.....drinkable. So why the casino and not the town? Apparently it has something to do with the way it is filtered and the pipes going to the casino. Hmmm

Meanwhile, us town folk are having ever worsening city water issues. The other night on the Mulvane fb page, the water issue came to a head with residents getting frustrated and irritable to the point that fur was flying. It all started with one resident saying that her niece had been diagnosed with a kidney stone and the doctor had told her he had seen many of these of late from Mulvane residents. His diagnosis on Mulvane water? Too much calcium in it. I tend to believe this as I know of several people myself from Mulvane who over the last few months have ended up ER bound with kidney stones. I would say that is a pretty painful side effect of drinking city water. This one post about Mulvane water, led to the gates of frustration flooding open and people letting loose. Stories of babies bathing in the water and getting hives, people having stomach issues after drinking the water, dingy laundry, clogged filtration systems and local businesses having complaints on the water were flying every which way. So apparently.....Mulvane has a water problem. Sadly, up to this point, we as a town had become so complacent with the issue over the years that we had actually quit complaining.......until that fb post. 

It suddenly was as if a light bulb went on for all of us at the same time. Hearing these stories and realizing that it wasn't just that the water smelled or our laundry was never really clean, but people were actually having "real" health issues from this stuff, made many of us stop short and see that this is not just an annoying problem but a real and urgent issue that needed to be addressed. In that evening, Mulvane people did, what they do so well. They rallied, made a plan and decided on a course of action to fix this issue. Why should we be paying a big chunk of money every month for water that we really can't even use and maybe even causing us health issues?

If the city was used to a complacent community where this issue was concerned, things might be changing. We need to know some answers about why our water is so bad. So far there has been finger pointing and excuses, but no real answers. Why is the casino water so much better than town water? Why do some people in town have better water than others when all our water comes from the same source? Then, after we learn the real why's, we need to have some solution options. After all, knowing why your water stinks, tastes awful and is making people sick doesn't fix the problem.

The city seems to be listening as they are adding city council meetings to their agenda and giving open forums to Mulvane citizens who want to speak. Why wouldn't they? After all, they have to use the water too. People are asking for independent studies to be done on their water so that we don't just have the word of the city as to what is floating around in our water and for now, bottled water and filtration systems reside in many a Mulvane home.

Yes, there is something in the water here in Mulvane. It is a huge issue and we would really like to know what it is and how to fix it. If you are from Mulvane and want to know what is going on with the water issue, there will be a city council meeting Thursday, January 22nd at Mulvane City Hall at 7:30 pm. Our water is on the agenda. You can also keep up on what is going on with the Mulvane water issue on fb at Better Water for Mulvane.

Stay tuned. I am sure there will be future updates and maybe..... we will find out just what is in the Mulvane water.


Anonymous said...

I am new to Mulvane and I know the water is bad but someone told me "That is just Mulvane water." It is good to know that people are working for a solution. Thanks for this blog.

Jimmy from Cisney said...

Did anyone try to get that doctors statement in writing? I would think that would go along way to proving the towns case for bad water. You all need an Erin Brockovich in your corner. Hope someone doesn't have to come down with cancer or die before your water issue is solved. Nice blog.

Anonymous said...

I so love your blogs where you speak out. Does your town and your friends know how lucky they are to have on their side? Great blog. Hope your water issue gets fixed.

Anonymous said...

I live in Mulvane and my son was having bad stomach issues. I took him to the doctor and they took him off all gluten thinking it was the reason. After six weeks his stomach was still a mess. My mom told me the Mulvane water smelled funny and told me to have him stop drinking it. After 2 weeks of him not drinking it, his stomach issues were gone. It was the water.

Wendy S. said...

I really appreciate you posting this, Lisa - it has been driving me nuts. I have a filter on my refrigerator so drinking-wise it is okay, but showering and laundry is disgusting. Knowing that there may be some health issues for us residents makes it much more serious of an issue than just smelly laundry though. Thank you for this blog and the links in it to facebook pages, etc.