LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday demanded answers from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power after five L.A. schools complained of murky water.
LAUSD officials said the district heard of the cloudy water late last week from principals and plant managers from Flournoy Elementary, Compton Avenue Elementary, 96th Street Elementary, Grape Street Elementary and Florence Griffith-Joyner Elementary.
The schools handed out bottles of water and told students to stay away from water fountains.
DWP spokeswoman Amanda Parsons said, the schools chose to use bottled water on their own. She insisted that the water coming from the pipes has been tested and is safe to drink. The changes in color, she said, were only because of sediment shifting in the pipes, which is normal.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Tim Watkins of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee brought bottles of brown water he said were provided by residents who said the samples came from their taps.
DWP Water Operations Manager Marty Adams told the council that LAUSD officials notified them last Thursday about the cloudy water. He said DWP officials did not find any cloudiness in the water during a test on Friday, but that cloudy water occurs intermittently. The next water test is scheduled Wednesday.
DWP officials are unsure of the exact source of the sediment and will be investigating as they move forward with the pipe-flushing, which is set to begin Wednesday and continue for a month, Adams said.
The city council has scheduled a hearing for late June to get more answers.
Parsons said, the murky water is unrelated to a water treatment failure earlier this year. On Jan. 15, a chlorine pump at the 99th Street Wells Water Treatment Facility malfunctioned. For six hours, water that was not fully disinfected flowed into the drinking supply in the neighborhoods of Green Meadows and Watts.
But the city said the DWP did not notify people in the affected neighborhoods until April 22.
Adams said there was clearly a major communications problem. “Ideally, we should have known right then in January. We should have it reported up the next day.”