Foul odor sparks worries about Downriver water

Residents say water smells like sulfer, tastes like sewage

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Residents living Downriver in Metro Detroit are complaining about the water quality, saying their tap water smells like sulfur and tastes like sewage.

After testing the water, the Great Lakes Water Authority and individual municipalities said the water is safe to drink, despite the smell. But residents are still leery.

Kristina Bacon, of Trenton, is hesitant to drink her own tap water after her cats and dogs got sick last week.

"(My) big dog started vomiting and so did (my) little dog, so we said, 'No. no. We're switching to bottled (water),'" Bacon said.

Q&A: What we know about Downriver's water quality concerns

Sarah Nitz's dog, "Chloe," also had a scare in Taylor.

"She absolutely refused to drink water, and any time she hadn't been drinking water, she was getting sick," Nitz said.

Nitz said the vet found a lot of bacteria in her dog's system, but the link to the water is unclear.

"The only common thing is the water," Bacon said.

The Great Lakes Water Authority said all Downriver communities were tested and met the EPS's safe drinking water requirements. But cities like Gibraltar, Trenton and Woodhaven looked into the water for themselves.

"We started getting our sample kits together and started sampling on Saturday to send to an independent laboratory for testing," said Tim Neighbors. "All the tests came back negative."

That information wasn't enough to convince residents.

"It's really hard to always trust everything, especially after the Flint water crisis," Nitz said. "You have to go with your gut, and my gut was saying no."

Nitz and Bacon said they will keep stocking up on bottled water, and Bacon said her family ordered the materials to do their own testing to make sure it isn't a bigger problem.

"I wouldn't doubt there's a bacteria out there or something they're not catching," Bacon said.

The Water Authority said the samples were also tested to see if the water is toxic, and the tests came back negative. They said the water is safe, but bottled water is a personal choice if residents want to do that.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact their local water department.

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About the Authors:

Koco joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, attended Central Michigan University, and previously worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.