POST FALLS — More than 30 residents of the Arundel manufactured home community were told Sunday night that it would be about two weeks before they could again drink water from their home faucets.
Brenda Evans, manager of Rental Connection Inc., which owns the home community, addressed some concerns about the park’s well water in a meeting organized and hosted by one of the park tenants, Bruce Mullen.
Residents have been boiling over with frustration because they don’t have drinkable water. The Press reported earlier this month on the problems at the park, located a couple blocks east of McGuire Road and just north of the Spokane River.
“I sympathize with you folks,” Evans said. “I wouldn’t want to live here. If it were me, I wouldn’t want to.”
She said 56 lots in the park are fed by well water, which has recently tested high for lead and particulates. Evans said the water was good to drink as recently as May, but residents argued that the water has been bad for years.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Rental Connection is owned by Roy Schons and Daniel Treend. Evans declined to name the owners, but said they have hired legal counsel for representation in the well-water issue.
Evans said the owners have done everything they’ve been told to do by government regulators to address the problem.
Residents of the park said they’ve received numerous notices over the years from Rental Connection about the well water they depend on being unfit for consumption. Most recently, they received boil-water notices in May and July.
“We’re hoping in two more weeks we can lift that order,” Evans said. “We’re going to be testing once this week, and we’ve got one more test to go now that the new (water) filter is in place.”
If the water isn’t drinkable in two weeks, Evans said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Evans promised, “We’ll reimburse you for your drinking water, within reason. And we’ll continue to do it until the ban is lifted.”
Evans blamed the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for some of the recent problems. A representative from the agency did not attend the meeting to contest her claims.
Evans said, “When this boil-water notice came out (this spring), they (DEQ) made us stop our filtration system and they made us change all the chemicals, and from that point on everything just went downhill.”
She said the water filtration system should never have been stopped. “We never should have changed the chemicals” either, she said. “That’s what has caused all these problems.”
Evans said a water filtration system similar to what was in place before is back on line, the appropriate treatment chemicals are being administered, and the system is being back-flushed. She said water quality should continue improving during the next two weeks. Residents at the meeting said the color of the water has been improving.
Despite Evans’ assurances, resident Merlyn Strohman said he was disappointed to hear that the same filtration system is going to be used that was in place before.
“We’ve had problems with the water for years,” he said. “And I’m frustrated by all the chemicals we’re having to use.”
He said he’s having skin reactions to the chemicals.
“It burns your eyes, burns your nose, when you try showering in it,” Strohman said. “They need to do something to actually fix the problem, not just patch it.”
Resident Robert Smith said he felt Evans answered some of the tenants’ questions.
But, “I just don’t think she answered them as truthfully as she could,” Smith said. “And where she’s getting some of her information at, I’m not sure. She said she’s got records. Let her prove it by showing us the records.”
He disagreed with her claim that the DEQ made Rental Connection take the water filtration system off the well.
“That is only partially true,” Smith said. “DEQ only said that (system) was not safe.”