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Water Quality

Water Quality Troubleshooting

At times your tap water can have an unusual odor, taste or appearance. In most cases, these aesthetic characteristics do not pose a public health threat.  However, since an unusual odor, taste or appearance could be the first indication of a more serious situation, each occurrence must be taken seriously and investigated immediately.

From the time your drinking water is purified at a treatment plant until it pours from your tap, there are chances for it to pick up things that can change the way it looks. Sometimes this happens as close as your home’s own plumbing.

Below are typical concerns, their most common causes, and what you can do about them. If you experience any of the following occurrences and the issue does not clear up in the suggested time frame, contact your utility for assistance.

Discolored Water

If your water changes color suddenly – no matter what color it becomes – it could indicate a public health concern. Do not use the water and immediately contact Liberty Utilities.  Usually when water looks dirty, it’s because of changes in the way that the water delivery system is being operated. When the direction that water flows in the pipe changes–for maintenance work on a water main, when a fire hydrant is broken in a car accident, or there is a break in a water main–materials at the bottom of the pipes get stirred up. Usually, the water looks dirty for a short time, and you shouldn’t drink it until it looks clear.

One way to speed the dirty water out of your pipes is to run all of your faucets for a few minutes. If the water is still not clear, then do the same thing again every half hour or so. The problem should go away within two to four hours. If it doesn’t, call Liberty Utilities.

Avoid running hot water if the cold water is discolored.  This will prevent filling your hot water tank with discolored water. If you are washing clothes, you can minimize the potential for staining by stopping the washer and waiting until clear water is available to finish.

Milky white or cloudy water is almost always caused by tiny air bubbles. If your water is white, fill a clear glass with water and set it on the counter. If the water starts to clear at the bottom of the glass first, the cloudy or white appearance is a natural occurrence of entrained air in the water. It is not a health threat and should clear in  a few minutes. If the water does not clear up, contact Liberty Utilities.

Green or blue water is usually caused by corrosion of copper plumbing.  If corrosion is occurring, dripping water will leave a bluish-green stain on porcelain fixtures. Certain metals, such as copper, that leach into drinking water from corrosion may pose a health concern. The problem could be in the home’s piping or corrosive water from Liberty Utilities. However, Liberty Utilities water quality has been measured to be non-corrosive. If you suspect corrosion, contact Liberty Utilities or a licensed plumber.

Black or dark brown water is usually due to manganese or other sediment and should clear up without further action when the sediment settles in the water main. Manganese does not pose a threat to human health. If it doesn’t clear after a few minutes of flushing your cold water faucets and toilets, wait about an hour and try again. If it still isn’t clear, contact Liberty Utilities.

Brown, red, orange or yellow water is usually caused by iron rust. Rusty water can be caused by galvanized iron, steel or cast iron pipes either in a home or business, or an old utility water main. While unpleasant and potentially damaging to clothes and fixtures, iron in drinking water is not a known human health concern.

Getting rid of problems with colored water can be accomplished by you alone or with the help of a plumber if the problem is with your plumbing or hot water heater. Otherwise you will need to speak with Liberty Utilities.

Here are some simple questions that may tell you whether the problem is on your end or not:

  • Is the water colored when you first turn on the tap in the morning or after not using it for a while?
  • Does the water run clear after a few minutes?
  • Are only some of your taps affected?
  • Are you the only one in the neighborhood with the problem?
  • Is it only the hot water that is colored?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the problem is probably with your plumbing.

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