SWLWA: "Help On the Way"

Residents served by Southwest Lauderdale Water Association complained last week about the pink and sometimes brown water they get. It has been a regular occurrence for several years for customers served by the Valley Road station.

The problem is red iron buildup in the 20-year-old system's pipes.

"Any increase in flow will break that loose and turn the water brown," said SWLWA Manager Terry Boyette.

Although irritating, Boyette says the water's discoloration is not harmful, but is also common.

"The city of Meridian, everybody has this problem," said Boyette.

Just within the last two years, the Collinsville Water Association virtually fixed its problem by installing a new, specialized filter.

"It's worth the extra money to get good clean water that people can depend on," said Glen Payne of Collinsville Water Association.

Speaking of money, officials with the Southwest Lauderdale County Water Association say they have received a million dollar grant and a $600,000 loan to help the problem.

With that, officials say a sponge will be used to clean three miles of pipe, mostly in the Valley Road area. As for the remaining pipes, they will continue to be cleaned by chemicals, something that in the long run is expected to dramatically improve the problem.

"It'll be much better than what it is now," said Boyette. "Hopefully, we can eliminate the real bad problems we're having."

Boyette said work would begin on the upgrades within the next year. The work is expected to take anywhere from eight months to a year to complete.