Metro

Scituate’s brown water called out by Erin Brockovich

A sample of discolored water that was brought to the Scituate Department of Public Works in late July by a resident from the Third Cliff area in 2013.
Jessica Bartlett/file
A sample of discolored water that was brought to the Scituate Department of Public Works in late July by a resident from the Third Cliff area in 2013.

Scituate residents’ battle with brown water got a heavy push in their favor Tuesday.

Disgusted with what she said were recent photos, consumer advocate Erin Brockovich posted a message on Facebook with an apparent response to a 2013 Department of Public Works video that addressed the town’s water problem.

Singling out Albert Bangert, then the town’s DPW director in 2013, Brockovich said he spent “almost 20-minutes telling unsuspecting consumer they water is perfectly safe.”

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“Sorry guys... a pack o’lies! You shouldn’t be embarrassed... you should be locked up,” she wrote.

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Bangert retired from Scituate’s DPW in Dec. 2013.

In an interview with the Globe, Bangert said that he believes the water in Scituate is safe, and that the brown coloration comes as a result of iron oxide naturally occurring in the town’s well water. He also pointed to an ongoing project in the town to replace 22 miles of cast iron pipes.

“Ms Brockovich’s remarks seem very uninformed and, in fact desperately in search of a cause,” Bangert said.

Brockovich, who rose to prominence after her work on a major class-action lawsuit targeting water safety was made into a movie, said she’s “definitely on this one!”

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Though the DPW also says that the brown water is not a health issue and comes from naturally occurring iron oxide, director Kevin Cafferty recently urged residents to use the “common-sense rule.”

“If you’re getting black water, I wouldn’t drink it,” he said earlier this year, according to the Patriot Ledger.

The paper reported Wednesday that an upcoming town hall will focus on the brown water problem and what the town is doing to fix it.

Monday’s meeting comes after the town’s selectmen reportedly rescheduled a July 24 meeting where they were supposed to talk about the issue due to “high interest and expected participation.”

Aimee Ortiz can be reached at aimee.ortiz@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @aimee_ortiz.