Clearwater, Minn. man told sewage-stinky well water is safe to drink

For the past 3 years, Charles Johnson has suffered from tremors his doctors have not been able to explain.

“I'm kind of at my wits end,” Johnson said. "I've been to a neurologist 3 times."

Johnson tells Fox 9 that since 2009 he's noticed the water from his tap smells like sewage. Johnson installed a new well on his property in 2007 to keep up with state standards, but one year later he says the St. Cloud wastewater treatment facility recycled bio-solids near his home. The city says bio-solids recycling would not be connected to Johnson’s stinky water.

For years, Johnson was told by city representatives that his water was safe to drink, but when we asked the director of services to take a sip, he said “I would probably go through the diligence to have it tested.” The Minnesota Pollution control Agency information officer didn't want any either.

“Probably not. No, not after smelling that,” Steve Mikkelson said. “That's what they've been getting? Out of their well?

Local water consultant Mark Hayes says the funk may not be the worst of it. 

“Vanadium and cobalt. These things are not found measurably in Minnesota groundwater,” Hayes said.

Now Johnson's home is quite possibly a contaminated wash.

St. Cloud city representatives said they've been recycling bio-solids in Clearwater since 1976, and that Johnson's water issue could be coming from a naturally-occurring compound or internal plumbing. The MPCA has re-tested private well water in the area and will have results next week.