Over the weekend, high chlorine levels in the water along Oak Hill Road in Evansville sent one woman to the hospital.
Officials say they didn't know anything was wrong until St. Mary's Hospital called the water treatment plant to tell the a patient had suffered burns to her eyes after showering in the then contaminated water. The family of that woman says she is home resting today, but other residents say they could have also been victims.
Brian Pease was getting his mail Saturday afternoon when he noticed the water department testing the hydrant in his front yard. He says he was told it was a routine check.
"Later we find out it was an absolutely do not use, which I found unusual because nobody let the residents know anything about," Pease said.
Just before 3:00 p.m., the water department did issue a precautionary do not use advisory for the subdivisions along Oak Hill Road, but Pease says that advisory didn't make it to all of the neighbors.
"It seems to me if there's an absolutely do not use, that there should be a more aggressive effort to notify the residents that this affects," Pease said.
The water department is investigating work done by the contractor, Ragle Incorporated, along Oak Hill. Allen Mounts, Director of Utilities, says there's a lot of construction along Oak Hill to sort through to identify the problem.
"Once our distribution manager arrived on site, it took a while to discern what was going on and how big was the issue, what was the issue. So a little time to figure things out," Mounts said.
Officials say a water line was being relocated and standard procedure is to disinfect the line.
"They use chemicals, a chlorine treatment, to clean the line, and then once that is cleaned and inspected, it's released for public use," Mounts said.
Mounts says this is the first or second time a contamination like this has happened in the history of the utility and they are looking at what they can do better in the future.
He says forming a mobile command to knock on doors isn't out of the question should they run into a similar issue again.
The advisory was lifted on Saturday afternoon, so the water is safe to use now.
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