Freeport residents using bottled water, wait on test results

 

FREEPORT, Mich.-- Some people in Barry County are being told not to drink their water after a valve malfunctioned while crews battled a fire. The malfunction sent raw river water and firefighting foam into the water supply. Residents in Freeport are told not to drink or touch their water until further notice and should only use bottled water.

Officials went door to door Friday night letting residents know not to use their water. The village is still waiting on test results to see if the water is safe to drink and bathe in.

"I'm going to plan for a while," said resident Daniel Lehman.

Freeport residents like Daniel Lehman say they're preparing for the worst. They got a knock on their door late Friday night into Saturday morning telling them not to drink their water.

"They knocked on the door at about one in the morning," said Lehman. "My wife and son woke up and told me in the morning that we could not use the water."

All this comes after a fire at Ketchum Machine Shop Friday night. According to village officials, firefighting foam and raw river water from the Little Thornapple River got into the municipal system.

"The foam is really just a high-concentrated detergent," said fire chief Jim Yarder. "It's soap. We also put water from the Little Thornapple River into the water system. It's the bugs in there that they're more worried about at this time. They got to get flushed out of the system."

Yarder says the valve that keeps the water form back-flowing failed during the operation causing the contamination.

"You know when you've affected the municipal water you start waking everybody up," said Yarder.

Firefighters and village officials went door to door until around 5am Saturday morning to let people know their water isn't safe.

"We discussed it with the fire department, the DEQ and the DNR," said village president Bill Andrews. "It was decided that this was the best route to go. Better to be safe than sorry."

502 people live in Freeport, all of whom are waiting on test results to see when things are back to normal.

"It's going to be hard without water but oh well, "said Lehman. "What can you do? I just hope they get it fixed as soon as possible, but they did a great job of letting us know.

Andrews says they're going to continue to flush out the water system all day on Sunday and likely into Monday until they know they've taken care of the problem or find out if they need to do more.

 

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