Melbourne resident claims tap water smells like mold

A mother who refuses to give up is telling her story to The News Station. Officials say her water is safe to drink, but she says those are just empty words.

Many Melbourne residents describe smelling chlorine from the tap, but  Nancy Kirby says her water smells like mold. Her district’s city councilman agrees, and now, both are pushing for action.

The City of Melbourne says opening hydrants could help get things flowing, thereby improving water quality.  Kirby isn’t convinced.  She is taking videos to document what she says is the ongoing problem with the water in her house she shares with her husband and four kids.

She’s bought several home testing kits and in  cell phone cam footage, we see a positive result for coli form in the water -- bacteria from human waste.  Don’t confuse that with chlorine, the chemical that’s used to treat water.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been covering complaints from other Melbourne citizens who say what's coming out of their faucets smells like a pool.  This is different. Nancy’s water smells like mold, she says.

“I put my 15-month-old in the bathtub, and then we were ripping apart the bathroom, thinking that there was mold somewhere. I realized it wasn’t mold, it was the water coming out that I was bathing my son in.” Kirby said.

She says that a "rotting odor" started at around the time a nearby construction project began its latest phase. The city confirms that sewer pipes are being worked on at Ellis Road and John Rodes Blvd. The city says the main line hasn't been touched.

Kirby's city councilman in District 5 is Paul Alfrey.

“I’ve had that smell in my home for several days, there have been complaints all over the city, all within the past few weeks, so what has changed to cause this?” Alfrey said.

On Tuesday night at a meeting at City Hall, officials told a full house of concerned residents Melbourne’s drinking water meets the state’s quality standards. But during the meeting, Kirby spoke up about the problem in her neighborhood which may not have to do with Lake Washington, algae, or water treatment.

Officials are now investigating to find out if the pipes and or the job-site are creating the issue. Kirby and her four kids have been diagnosed with respiratory conditions. She stopped drinking the tap water, but before that, she spent a couple of days second-guessing herself, in that time, so they all consumed the water.

“I think there is help out there, I just don’t think they know how to help.” Kirby said.

Here’s the information the City of Melbourne provided in response to this story:No work on the water main on John Rodes Blvd. has taken place yet.

There has been work on the sewer main, which is a completely separate system. The water main on John Rodes Blvd. is a 20-inch, pre-stressed concrete water main that was installed in 1956. This particular pipe has been inspected multiple times recently by the manufacturer and has been found to be in pristine condition.  The neighborhood is about 11 years old.