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Eagle Mountain residents concerned about changes to tap water

Posted at 6:05 PM, Mar 06, 2023

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — Bonnie and Brett Bartleson are among the many Eagle Mountain residents who have recently become concerned about the city's tap water. In fact, they won't even let their dogs drink it.

"Pets dying, mainly fish, the water wasting weird — salty, thick, oily, smelling like a pool," Bonnie said.

So instead of relying on the city's tests, Brett decided to grab tubes, water, and a hypothesis to do his own tests. What he found made him and Bonnie uneasy about using the water from their faucets.

"I tested it with a silver nitrate solution, and it precipitates silver chloride," Brett explained. "It immediately precipitated, and that pretty much just shows there's a lot of chlorine in the water."

Bonnie says she and her daughter have had an adverse reaction to the water when showering and bathing. She also says about two weeks ago, around the time the city changed water sources, her son got sick with a stomach bug she doesn't believe was the stomach flu.

"I just started hearing her crying, so I asked what was going on and she said that her skin hurt and that her body was itching," Bonnie said. "My biggest concern is it's making people sick. It's making kids sick. Something needs to be done."

The Bartlesons aren't the only residents who are reporting being sick or having pets — specifically fish — dying.

"We have four out of five people with sour/unsettled stomachs in our house including a dog that threw up that normally doesn't," one resident wrote on Facebook. "We drink from the filtered fridge water. The one that doesn't have any issues drinks only bottled water and has been completely fine."

Another said, "We have had a freshwater fish die as well and a dog that refuses to drink. We had to take her to the vet because of stomach issues. There is definitely something wrong with the water."

Eagle Mountain City officials say they take residents' gastrointestinal complaints seriously, but they have no evidence to prove that the water is causing it.

"Our testing is showing that the water is safe — there's nothing wrong with it, and as a result, any conceptions that our water may be connected to that are misguided," said city spokesperson Tyler Maffitt.

Maffitt says the change in water characteristics can be attributed to the city switching its water well source on Feb. 27 for all but one Eagle Mountain neighborhood.

"That has induced, I guess, the change in flavor profile and odor profile. That's leading some of our residents to believe there is something wrong or problematic with our water," Maffitt said. "A change in odor a change in taste is completely disconnected from its safety."

The United States Environmental Protection Agency says "total dissolvable solids" in water should be at or below 500 milligrams per liter. Maffitt says Eagle Mountain's water well source tested in the mid-800s, but he says that's a number to think about, not be concerned about.

"There are many sources that recommend many different things, so what Eagle Mountain does is follows the state guidelines, which basically says anything below 2,000 is acceptable and safe to drink," Maffitt said.

But the Bartlesons aren't convinced.

"We've been living out here for three years and it's always been around 300. It would be nice to be on the average side of things," Bonnie said.

Maffitt says if residents have any concerns about their water, they are encouraged to reach out to the city via social media or the city's water department.