“I just want my kids to be safe,” Blackwell residents scared to drink water

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BLACKWELL, Okla. - Grabbing a glass of water from the sink is something most of us take for granted, but Blackwell residents say doing it could put your life at risk.

"I just want my kids to be safe," said Shantel Emerine.

Emerine says her two girls are at risk because the water in Blackwell often comes out of the faucet looking orange or yellow.

This week, the city issued a letter to residents recognizing  Blackwell water exceeds DEQ limits for pollutants and carcinogens.

The letter says people may experience problems with their "liver, kidneys or central nervous system and have an increased risk of getting cancer."

"We get this letter in that it mainly affects infants and elderly, and I have kids, I have an infant, and that’s my main concern," Emerine told News 4.

Residents are not only worried about the health threats, they say it's ruining property, too.

"It stains our clothes. The water was so bad, it stained the inside of our hot tub. I can't fill up my daughter's pool, it comes out brown," said Emerine.

Some Blackwell residents are concerned about costs.

"It gets a little expensive after you are paying for water from the city, then you having to go out and buy water for your family to drink, and I can't buy enough water for my family to take a bathe in. So, yeah, it’s a big deal," said Irene Hinman of Blackwell.

The city says the carcinogens are there because of the extra chlorine used to sterilize the water. Organic pollutants have built up in the town's old pipes.

"We are like, all towns I have 50 miles of water line in town and they are 100 years old and we gotta replace them. A lot of people before me have neglected it," said Chip Outhier, City Manager.

Residents know officials are trying, but they say the water problem has gone on too long.

"To blame the city? The city is trying, the city manager got the problem handed to him. He’s trying, the people are frustrated because it's gone on for so long," said Patrick Michael Poulson, Blackwell resident.

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