Athens residents see water turn brown after fire department responds to call

ATHENS, WV (WOAY) – The City of Athens had a water issue over the weekend where residents were seeing brown water flow from their faucets.

Over the weekend the Athens Fire Department responded to a large fire on Eads Mill Road in the East River VFD coverage area, and soon after using the fire hydrants, residents noticed their water turning brown. Town clerk Debbie Shorter says the brown water was caused by large amounts of manganese, a naturally occurring element in water. 

“We monitor our Facebook page and I was getting messages that there was some brown water. And with the water pressure from where the fire department used the water, it broke loose the manganese in the pipes,” Shorter said. 

Manganese is relatively harmless, at least a small amount of it is always present in tap water. However, if enough manganese is present to turn the water brown, it’s not recommended to drink. 

“The lines are lined with manganese, which is a natural occurring element in the water to begin with. And over the years it just kind of adds up. So the pressure from the amount of water just broke it loose. And it creates the brown water.” 

These types of water issues are relatively common for small towns. Water will typically start to run clear again if you leave the faucet on for long enough.

Athens is still experiencing the brown water caused by manganese, but it’s starting to clear up for many people. However, until it fully clears, it’s recommended that residents use water filters when they can.

City officials expect the water to run clear again before the end of this week.