Neighbors: Allens, Inc., Water Contaminated With Brown Sludge

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The news that Allens Inc., filed for bankruptcy Monday came as a surprise to a few Siloam Springs families who said the company contaminated their drinking water.

John Roach, who has lived in the area for 14 years, said the stream off of Butler Road has visual evidence it is contaminated from the nearby company.

And now neighbors have called in a private company to try to figure out what is in the water.

"We started noticing some of the vegetation around the stream dying," Roach said.

He said brown sludge is building up on the ground and in the water. The foamy water is oily and smells, he said.

"For those people that have had really heavy sulfur in their wells or water systems, it can smell like that and then other times it's just like sewage," Roach said.

Roach and his neighbors point the blame to the vegetable food processing plant company, Allens, Inc. He said the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality investigated the leaks and told them the source of the problem.

"Found that it was coming from the Allen canning plant over on Fairmont Road where they are irrigating their field with this stuff," Roach said.

Katherine Benenati with ADEQ said their inspector has sent samples to a lab and the results are pending. Benenati said the department is working with Allens Inc.

She said their first priority is that the problem in the stream is corrected and cleaned up. Benenati said ADEQ is still gathering information and once the investigation is complete, they'll see if the company is penalized with a fine.

5NEWS contacted the New York-based spokesman for the Allens Inc. and he declined to comment on the contamination.

Roach said his family can't drink water, they can't shower or use their appliances.

"The inside of the dishwasher will smell, the washing machine smells so the only thing we are using our water for inside the house right now is flushing toilets," Roach said.

Roach said ADEQ can take up to two weeks to get the results back. In the meantime, neighbors are taking matters into their hands. Roach said he contacted a water treatment company called RainSoft, which came to the area and took its own samples.

"So we can start treating it and taking care of the water while we waiting for Allens or the state to get it cleaned up," Roach said.

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