MATTAPOISETT — Some Mattapoisett residents are not loving that dirty water, as brown water in certain areas of town has been staining laundry, sinks and toilets since last week.

An update from the town's water department today stated that during a pump replacement last Wednesday, the company accidentally started a new pump in the water treatment plant at twice the normal rate.

This high flow rate affected the town's older water lines in the Acushnet Road, River Road, North Street and town center areas, turning the water dark reddish brown to black.

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According to the update, the "aesthetically displeasing" water color comes from iron and manganese deposits in the water system.

However, the department noted that the water system is currently meeting all water quality criteria, including that for bacteria, lead, and copper.

"The Water Department continues to flush and monitor this situation and is making every effort to address this issue," the statement reads, adding that it will schedule overnight flushing after Thanksgiving.

Mattapoisett is still chlorinating the town water after an E. coli bacteria issue last month that forced residents to boil their tap water for nearly two weeks.

But for some residents, water problems have been ongoing for years.

Joanne Pratt said that she and her husband bought their Pearl Street home around two years ago.

"Ever since we got there we have had very blackish, brown water," she said, adding that the water quality can vary widely.

"At times, it’s fine. It’s clear," she said. "Other times, you pour it, it looks like a cup of coffee. It’s disgusting."

Courtesy Joanne Pratt
Courtesy Joanne Pratt

Pratt described the water as "oily" and "viscous," saying it's especially noticeable in the shower.

"It's just gross, because you feel it in your hair," she said.


The couple called a plumber, who has drained the hot water heater and flushed their system several times now — but after speaking with neighbors who had the same problem, Pratt said, she realized it was a problem with the town.

Since then she's spoken with Town Administrator Michael Lorenco and Water Department Superintendent Henri Renauld, who told her that the pipes in certain areas need replacing.

But although funding has been approved, Pratt said, she was told supply delays have pushed the project back to next spring.




"It’s supposedly safe," she added. "Why don’t I bring a cup of water down to town hall to see who wants to drink this?”

Courtesy Joanne Pratt
Courtesy Joanne Pratt

The Pratts are looking into an expensive home filtration system, and they currently have a large Berkey counter filter, which they use for drinking and cooking water.

But they still have to take showers, do laundry, and brush teeth.


"I’m paying for water that I can’t really use," she said. "But it’s not about the money. We just want to have safe drinking water, usable water."






"We just feel like we don’t really know the truth," she added. "We would just like answers."

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