Independent test finds Ribault residents' water safe to drink

Residents concerned water possibly contaminated after flooding during Irma

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After floodwater from the Ribault River mixed with sewer water during Hurricane Irma, some people living in a neighborhood on Jacksonville's Northside still weren't drinking or bathing in the water from their faucets.

JEA has already said the drinking water is safe. 

But earlier this week, residents living along Ken Knight Drive in the Ribault neighborhood said they still didn’t trust what was coming out of the faucet because it smelled, and they feared it had been contaminated by sewer water. 

RELATED: Jacksonville councilman plans to close park covered in sludge after Irma

"Do not wash your kids in that water. Do no let them drink it," said Denise Hunt with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition.

So News4Jax conducted an independent water test using samples from two different homes to make sure the water was safe. 

Despite the city-owned utility assuring that the faucet water is safe, some residents still worried.

News4Jax got two samples of water from two homes. The samples were placed in empty water bottles. A coliform bacterial test was conducted to see whether there was any bacteria in the two water samples.

An at-home water analysis kit was also used to look for other problems that could cause health issues. 

When it was all said and done, the water tested negative for coliform bacteria. The water was harder than normal, but chlorine levels were within a good range. Alkalinity was OK, but the PH levels were slightly off. Overall, the water is safe. 

News4Jax showed the results to several neighbors. 

“So now we can still use the water inside our households, as far as taking baths and all that kind of stuff, so we’re not worrying about contamination," said Ribault resident Bernard Pulliam. "It's great knowing now I can take baths and drink water and it won’t hurt me.”

Another Ribault resident, Cherlinda Bennett, said she was also glad she will no longer be taking baths using bottled water.

"I’m tired of that. I want to take a hot shower and, now, I’ll be able to take a hot shower," Bennett said. "I’m glad you came out and showed us it’s healthy for us to drink now."

Now it's up to those residents to spread the word so their neighbors don't have to keep relying on bottled water to drink and bathe.

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