Talquin customers experience water woes

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 20, 2020

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) – Roughly 2,000 people living in Wakulla County have spent the past several weeks with discolored water.

The central part of the county, which is about 22 square miles, has been experiencing the worst of the water woes. The questions that these customers have are what is causing it and what’s being done to fix the issue.

Kathryn Eck, a Talquin Customer, has been living in her Wakulla household for roughly 15 years. She says many of her neighbors have been dealing with the same issues, “I mean we are in 2020 there is technology or something, that they can do to fix this.”

The problem is water that is brown and undrinkable. Within the past year, Eck says that the unwelcomed water has come and gone, but nothing compares to what she saw this last week, “We have seen the brown in the drinking water, shower bathtub toilet.”

Letha Wise, also a customer, noticed changes in the water within the past two-three months.

“Often I’ll draw the bath and it will be brown or orangey brown and I started noticing I’m the toilets and orange ring,” Wise said.

But when did this all begin?

Talquin's Director of Water Services, Tim Waddle, states that last week, the company began adding filters to their water system to remove metals found in their water. He shares that part of the process is injecting a chemical into the water, but one night that injection system malfunctioned, which resulted in that discolored water.

“It has happened before," shares Waddle, "And it’s just the physics of the filter and we are trying to tweak it and get the chemistry right and we had gotten it to this point until this happened.”

In explaining how the system works, Waddle says water flows through a large tank which has multiple chambers, and then flows through sandy rock, and then enters into the system.

Waddle shares that all of the main lines should be cleared within the week. He also states that adjustments will be made. They hope to add more operators to their sites, to have around the clock supervision. They also want to add more injection pumps and a back-up system, to make sure that this does not happen again.

Waddle states that droughts, like what we have recently experienced cause the metal levels to rise. He also shares flushing still needs to be done, but an end is in sight, “As long as the water quality coming out of the wells are good then the mains should flush pretty quickly. If member continue to irrigate and use a lot of water then it actually helps to remove it quicker too.”

But for those like Wise, who still have residue on their filters and muggy water, concerns still linger.

"Well, we don't want to drink it for sure, so we have to have filters and we don't know when this is going to happen it has been off and on," Wise said.

Eck echoes, "You need water to survive, we use it everyday when we take a shower, when we drink with ice and when we cook so we are just sitting here twiddling our fingers like what are we supposed to do. OF course we can go to the store and get water and bottled water but that is not something that we should ever have to do, I mean that is something that we pay for every month in our water bill. So it's just really aggravating."

Eck shares she was also frustrated with the lack of communication that Talquin had in communicating updates regarding the water quality.

Talquin says that they are working on perfecting how they release notifications to better reach all of their customers.

Talquin asks that anyone still noticing problems, contact Talquin Electric Cooperative Water Services at (850) 562-2115 or after hours and holidays, call 1-888-802-1832.