As a resident of Housatonic, Massachusetts there are no doubts that we have been dealing with constant water problems and that has been rule of thumb since I moved here to The Berkshires in 2019. Over 3 years later, nothing seems to be done in remedying this ongoing situation as excessive levels of manganese continue to contaminate the village's water supply. Residents are furious, including yours truly.

Earlier this week, the area has been decorated with protest signs urging people in Housatonic to boycott paying their water bills as soon as possible as discoloration continues with yellow and dark brown H-2-O coming out of the tap and that poses a health hazard for all ages.

woman tap water
Helmut Seisenberger

The question remains: what is Housatonic Water Works doing to find a solution to this rampant problem? The answer: "NOTHING" as co-owner and spokesperson James Mercer put his two cents on this matter:

"Higher summer temperatures are making the problem worse as usual. the water just sits there. Only the flow generated by their usage moves through the pipes"

Plans are in the works to add a new filtration system that will be able to remove any excess minerals that are causing the horrible discoloration. But the alternative is NOT sitting well with residents who will face higher water bills, double the amount they are paying at the present time, hence the protest signs that are plastered all over the vicinity.

Water being poured

A recent test yielded even more bad news as the elevated discoloration yielded "elevated levels" of a compound that could cause cancer, but according to the water Works office, they claim that level has dropped, but NOT significantly.

Mercer reiterated the price increase will not occur immediately as approval needs to take place and the filtration system will undergo a series of tests including a vetting process to assure the procedure will prove successful. A public hearing will also be scheduled to determine if a possible rate hike could come to fruition.


The State Department of Public Utilities reported there have a total of nine rate increases in the village since 1956. Could a 10th round be on the way? As Asia used to say: "Only Time Will Tell". We will keep you posted when new information is released, but for now Housatonic residents continue to express their frustration on this matter. Stay tuned!

(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of The Berkshire Eagle)

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