Hornbrook leaders address stinky water issue

HORNBROOK, Ore. – Residents of Hornbrook, California said they’ve had enough of the town’s smelly water. They are now asking the State of California for answers on an issue they say has been happening for years.

A basic necessity, Hornbrook residents said is running out dry. While the State of California appears headed for drought. The small town of Hornbrook has an added stressor stinky water.

“Everyone knows what a rotten egg fart smells like. I mean they’re horrible,” said Billie Stillman who has lived in Hornbrook for 1.5 years.

“Now imagine turning your water on and just this rotten egg fart smell coming out of your faucet,” said Stillman.

She said she can barely wash her dishes or take a shower without her house smelling.

“Being in a pandemic and not having clean water to wash our hands with to me sounds like a really big health issue,” said Stillman.

She’s not the only one in Hornbrook making a stink about the water because the problem isn’t new. Dennis Ryan has lived in Hornbrook for 8 years.

“When we bought the home the realtor warned us that there was a water issue. And it was just beyond our comprehension that it would be like this,” said Dennis Ryan.

But residents like Billie and Dennis said they aren’t getting answers.

“Those of us who need help, need help now. And it’s a challenge,” said Stillman.

Hornbrook’s Water District is volunteer-based. Bob Puckett has been on-and-off the board since 2015, but he’s called Hornbrook home for nearly 40 years.

“Since I’ve moved here there’s not a lot of people who would drink the water,” said Puckett.

But he said the new water board is handling it just not as fast as everyone would like.

“They listen to people about things and they don’t know the fact. They think it’s the gospel and it’s not,” said Puckett.

However, hope is on the horizon. Last week, Puckett said the board got money for two new water tanks and one new well. He hopes the updated resources will help the water issue in his community. But since the money was just approved, he says there’s no set timeline on when it’ll be implemented. He hopes it’ll be sooner, rather than later.

NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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