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Residents dealing with smelly water in small Louisiana community

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LOTTIE - About 400 people in a town across the river say their water smells. Residents in Lottie say the stench has been noticeable for the past month.

Water District Two of Pointe Coupee Parish tells 2 On Your Side it's aware and has been working to fix the issue, but homeowners say it's not fast enough.

Becky Hatch says every time she turns on the water, an awful smell fills the whole house.

"Just a rotten smell," said Hatch. "Just poop smell."

Her neighbor living across the street says washing dishes, clothes, and taking a bath isn't the same.

"I mean, I hate to wash my dishes in it," said Barbara Baise. "That's all I have though to wash my dishes in."

The smell is making some people sick. Baise says she hasn't had a drink from the faucet in a month.

"Can you imagine drinking that? You can't drink that!" said Baise.

The neighborhood says the water has never smelled like this before, but they can pinpoint the start of it to almost five weeks ago. That's when residents say they started making phone calls to the water district.

"I've called, I've went over there and the neighbors called," said Hatch.

On July 6, Water District Two says the Lottie water tower was taken offline for a few weeks to replace a pump. In the meantime, residents were getting water from the nearby town of Fordoche. Coincidentally, the Lottie tower was struck by lightning last week creating further issues. A new part needed to be ordered and replaced. The Lottie tower is now operational and that's where residents are getting their water from.

Water operator Ricky Montelaro says he took water samples in 30 different locations yesterday and everything checks out. Montelaro says residents are smelling hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas which can give off the smell of rotten eggs. It's unclear exactly where the smell came from. The water is treated by aeration and chlorination and he says the water is completely safe to drink.

People living in Lottie disagree.

"Does this smell fine to you?" said Baise. "Would you drink this water? No, I'll answer for you, no you wouldn't drink it."

The water district says it's working to flush the water to help get rid of the smell, but Baise and her neighbors say it's not fast enough.

In addition, Water District Two says the Lottie tower was scheduled to be cleaned Wednesday, but that's been pushed back due to weather. The tower, which has been online since 1999 has never been cleaned. Towers like that one should be cleaned every 3-5 years, as they hold sludge. Montelaro says, "that probably does not attribute to the smell."

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