ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – An ad campaign on Facebook as well as mailers are causing some folks to worry about the quality of the water in Robertson County, including Springfield, Millersville, White House, and Greenbrier.
The ads (shown at the bottom of this report) show photos of water pipes almost completely clogged with sludge. The photos are frightening and would make anyone afraid to turn on the faucet.
The following quote accompanies the ads: “Latest (your city) water report finds traces of harmful chemicals and contaminations in the drinking water test. A new program from Test My Water Members provides free home water tests. See if you qualify.”
If you click on the ad for Springfield you will be taken to a page that says Springfield’s water is contaminated with copper, lead, chlorine, and nitrate.
Running simultaneously with the Facebook ads are mailers (pictured left) that indicate you have a package. The mailer makes no mention of water or water quality. The mailer says you have a package and this is your “final notice.” The mailers are compelling and some who receive it might feel led to call the number on the card.
A reader sent us one of the mailers so we called the number. A very professional-sounding operator answered and asked us for the “package number.” After letting us hear keyboard clicks for a minute or so the operator said; “What it shows here in the system that what you are receiving is part of a water awareness program in Springfield. They’re providing you with a free water test for your home as well as a $25 gift card of your choice.” I guess we qualified. The operator went on to say that the free testing was; “due to recent water concerns in the community about the quality of water.” The operator also indicated that the free water test would be paid for by Robertson Family Water, a water filtration firm located in Murfreesboro, TN, according to their website.
The operator also said that the city is only legally responsible to test at their facility and is only responsible to test for “Typhoid Fever and things like that.” Not true. The State requires testing at various locations in the city as part of bacterial sampling.
The TestMyWater.org website indicates that the testing data comes from its members, members being people in the area that signed up for the free water test and city-data. The operator we talked to about the “package” mentioned both the TestMyWater site and Robertson Family Water mentioned above.
Smokey Barn News reached out to the Springfield Water Department and searched the internet looking for a sign the “community” was concerned about the quality of water in Springfield or if there was, in fact, a problem with Springfield’s water delivery system. The only concern we found was that generated by the ads.
As far as who funds TestMyWater.org or who runs the site, no information was available however their website does indicate that they are a “for-profit” company. “Test My Water is a for-profit company that provides free tests and water data to local homeowners,” the site reads.
Smokey Barn News spoke to Springfield’s Utility Director for the Water and Wastewater Department, Terry Beers.
“There is a company who sells water filtration systems that are using social media to cause concern with citizens by posting false information regarding the content of the water supplied by the City of Springfield. The company was using false information by means of defamation to their water supply.
“The ploy then uses a scare tactic to come and visit homes to advertise the advantages of using a filtration system for their drinking water. The test involves an evaluation of the piping system in your home, which can be very misleading. The City of Springfield’s Water system has to adhere to very stringent rules for your drinking water from the State of Tennessee to ensure your water supply is of the highest quality and safe for public usage.
“The water and wastewater department is required by the State of Tennessee to publish an annual water quality report that details the regulated substances from the State of Tennessee and the levels that are maintained from the distribution of our water system.
“We take pride in providing the customers that are supplied service by the City of Springfield’s Water and Wastewater Department. If you have any questions, please contact the water department at (615) 382-1600.”
The city of Springfield released the following statement about the ads.
“SCAM ALERT! Beware of a new scam that attempts to create fear about unsafe drinking water. You may see social media ads similar to the photos below. A company called Test My Water is attempting to create fear and take your money. Our water quality results continue to be superior when tested annually and those results are made available to you. Please do not let your family or friends fall for this scam!
If you have any questions about our water system, please call the Springfield Water/Wastewater Department at (615) 382-1600.”
Smokey Barn News also learned (and we have attached below) that the firm is running the same Facebook ads for other cities in Robertson County also. As you can see they are using mostly the same photo for every city. We found the same ad with the same text and photo running in San Bernardino Ca.
What the firm is doing is pointing their ads at a “free water test” without clarification that the photos used in the ads, hypothetically, would be the pipes in your home, not your City’s water supply system. The ads also don’t mention that the free water test is being paid for by a water filtration company.
The second (simultaneous) approach, the (you have a package) mailer, is just trying to get residents to dial the number so they can offer the same water test paid for by the same firm, Robertson Family Water.
The point is, every pipe in your home could, in fact, be clogged with sludge but the city is not in charge of the pipes inside your home, that’s your responsibility. If you think your pipes may be clogged with sludge or if your water tastes or smells strange it may be time to call a plumber. As far as filtration, be sure to do your homework before purchasing a water filtration system.
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