The results are in!
In response to the overwhelming amount of complaints from residents about the brown water coming from their tap, the Malverne Civic Association ranged for a handful of homes to go under the microscope.
Water samples were taken from five houses located on Oak Street, Scarcliffe Drive, Walker Street, Rider Avenue, and Nassau Boulevard in Malverne and sent to an H2M, an independent lab in Melville for testing.
Earlier this month Bill Varley, president of Long Island American Water, the utility that provides water to homes in Malverne and surrounding areas, announced that the results were in. (Days later, the company also finally put its $7.5 million )
As promised, Varley shared the results with the Civic, including Tom Grech, the Malverne man who was instrumental in rallying about the issue using a Facebook page he created called "I Love Malverne...but hate the brown water (From LI Water)."
Residents were mostly concerned with the levels of naturally-occurring iron in their tap water. While the Nassau County Department of Health does not recognize iron as a health hazard it does set standards for aesthetic reasons, since the iron can turn the water brown and even stain laundry.
The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for total iron in cold water states that it should be less than 1.50 mg/L. None of the samples taken from homes in the village came close to hitting this limit. The highest level, 1.15 mg/L, was taken from a kitchen faucet in a home on Walker Street.
The samples also fell within the acceptable water color standards. None of them met the criteria for being considered "discolored" or odorous, and were within the pH range of 7.5 to 8.5 units that the health department recommends.
As for oxidized iron levels, there were a couple of samples that came back higher than the standards, but these are guidelines set forth by Long Island American Water itself and not any health agency.
Click here to view the results or check out the attached photos and documents to the right.
While some residents reported having "very brown water" two days after the plant when into service, Varley said that homeowners could see the water look worse before it gets better. This is the result of reverse air flow that got into the system when they put the plant on line and is only temporarily. The company has been flushing hydrants around the neighborhood to counteract this.
It appears that some residents are now starting to see the benefits of the plant, reporting noticeable improvements in the color of their water.
One resident, commenting on the Facebook page, wrote, "I have run several baths for my kids over the last few days and the water has been the clearest I have ever seen it."
Another added, "Mine too - not totally clear, but much clearer than I have seen in years!"
Grech said he's received a number of similar phone calls and e-mails from people since the plant went online last Tuesday, saying that their water has improved.
"Alternatively, there's also been a number of people who have not seen an improvement," he added. "I'm cautiously optimistic."
He plans to wait another week to reassess the plant's performance and is hoping that once he hears that all of Malverne is enjoying clear water, the community can hold an event to celebrate.
Patch wants to know the status of your tap water - have you seen any changes? Does it look worse or better? If you live in West Hempstead or neighboring communities, have you witnessed any improvements since the plant went into service?
Tell us in the comments or even upload a photo.