ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Some residents in an Arkansas City senior living community are upset about the smell of their water. After hearing a lot of complaints, KSN decided to look into the situation. The residents say the smell is so bad they can’t drink the water. It’s reached a point where the city’s water department got involved.

“I have never, never, never, never encountered anything like this before,” Elaine Lewis said. “It’s really, really bad first thing in the morning.”

Lake View Estates, Arkansas City (KSN Photo)

Lewis is one of the residents at Lake View Estates in the 800 block of W. Taylor Ave in the south part of town. It’s an apartment and duplex complex that opened two years ago near Veterans Memorial Lake.

Lewis told KSN she has buyer’s remorse because of the water smell in her apartment.

“The people that have been here have told me that they are smelling it,” she said. “It smells like sulfur, decay. It smells like mud. It smells like mildew – probably all of that combined.”

(Photo Courtesy Elaine Lewis)

Lewis shared a picture that she said was from her shower drain. She said the yellowish substance came out of her faucet.

The day KSN visited her home, we noticed the city flushing the fire hydrants in the neighborhood. That day her water had no noticeable smell.

We asked the City of Arkansas City Utilities, which provides water, sewer and sanitation services, why the neighborhood has a water odor problem.

Andrew Larson, the city’s public information officer, released a statement saying the city suspects that any issues are within the units and not a larger issue with the town’s water system.

He said city workers took water samples from at least three different apartments at Lake View. The samples were from kitchens, bathroom sinks, even the facility manager’s office. Larson said the test results were inconclusive.

“Our tests continue to come up negative for contaminants, and no other properties in that part of town have reported any water quality complaints — only some of the residents at Lake View Estates,” Larson said.

Even though the city’s tests were inconclusive, he said water distribution crews are increasing the frequency of their directional flushing to address the complaints.

“We still believe the problem to be low water flow in the housing units themselves, which may be causing a low chlorine residual,” Larson said. “We will continue to flush this area in order to maintain a good chlorine residual.”

I want to continue to reassure residents that the water is absolutely safe to drink. We have pulled samples and run all of the tests we have available to us at our Water Treatment Facility. Our operators have checked for odors, clarity and taste, and consistently found the water to be fine and within all acceptable limits. However, in an abundance of caution, we will be sending samples from several apartment units to the state to test independently and hopefully verify our findings.”

Andrew Larson, public information officer, City of Arkansas City

“It shouldn’t matter whether you use a lot, or a little, when it stinks and smells,” Lewis said. “I had a period of illness, so I wasn’t using much, and I was going to turn it on and start cleaning, and you have to open the windows for at least four hours to be able to stand it in here.”

She said the property manager told residents to run their faucets for hours a day to get rid of the smell.

“‘Turn your faucets on.’ ‘It will go away.’ ‘Let it run long enough.’ ‘You’re not paying for it,'” Lewis said she was told.

Jugs of water sit next to a water cooler at Elaine Lewis’ Arkansas City home. (KSN Photo)

But Lewis points out it does cost her money. She is paying for a service to deliver water jugs to her home.

KSN asked her what happens when she complains about the water and the smell.

“Basically avoidance,” Lewis said.

KSN tried to contact the property manager for Lake View Estates multiple times over the phone and by email, but the calls and emails were not returned.