Skip Navigation
Decrease Normal Increase

Discolored or Dirty Water

What's In My Water?

Yellow water
Tests show an increase in levels of the minerals manganese and iron dissolved in the Green River water supply. Treatment of these contaminants with chemicals like chlorine and ozone cause these minerals to become visible by giving them a yellow tint. Drinking water rules label these minerals as “secondary” or aesthetic contaminants that can cause objectionable appearance or taste. They do not have any known health effects at the levels we found. Learn more by reading our Yellow Water FAQs.

Brown water
Brown water is often caused by disturbances to the water main, like main breaks or fire hydrant uses that stir up the sediment settled at the bottom of the main. While it may look unsafe, the sediment is harmless river silt particles. If you experience this problem, avoid using any water for one or two hours. If the water does not clear, call us.

White/cloudy water
White or cloudy water is typically caused by tiny air bubbles trapped in the water. The bubbles also can cause a slightly metallic taste or odor. This is harmless and usually temporary. Taste and odor of water can vary throughout the year because of changing water sources (river water or well water), seasonal algae in the Green River or fluctuating chlorine concentrations. Those slight variations are harmless and do not signal unhealthy water.

Rust-colored water
Rust particles in water (orange-brown water color) and spurts of air are caused most frequently when we shut down water mains to make repairs. On galvanized steel pipe plumbing systems (typically found in older homes), air trapped in the system rapidly expands when a valve is opened. Then, large quantities of rust break loose from the plumbing system and orange-brown water appears.

Running the cold water for three minutes should provide clear water. Sometimes this problem goes on for several days before it clears up. Aerators on spigots should also be cleaned periodically to remove any accumulated rust particles.

Use only clear water from the cold water tap for drinking and cooking.

Something's in My Water

Sand and grit
Sand-like particles and grit occur in home plumbing as a result of rust particles from galvanized steel pipe and mineral scale sloughing off the pipe wall. A steel table knife or pocketknife blade will crush rust or mineral scale, while true sand will resist crushing.

Sometimes, this grit causes premature failure of faucets. It will also affect the operation of faucet aerators. If your washing machine is filling too slowly, you should replace the screen filters where the hot and cold water hoses enter the back of the machine.


Hard Water & Water Stains

Hard water
Hardness refers to dissolved minerals in the water  that interfere with the sudsing action of soap. The harder the water, the lesser the sudsing action. The water we provide is very soft, which means that clothes washing and other activities require less soap than areas that have hard water.

Blue stains
Blue stains on fixtures are caused when our water hits copper, usually in newer plumbing systems. Copper dissolves into the water when water sits in the pipes overnight or is unused during the day.

Running the water about 60 seconds, or until there is a change in the water temperature or smell of chlorine, should help. Keeping the fixtures dry and drip-free also helps prevent the problem.

Pink stains
Bright pink stains on fixtures, drainboard surfaces and pet dishes are caused by the interaction of oxygen in the air with dissolved rust, resulting in an iron hydroxide precipitate on the surfaces.

Running the water about 60 seconds, or until there is a change in the water temperature, should help. Keeping the surfaces dry also helps solve this problem.

Pale pink stains or black-gray stains around bathtubs or showers may be a form of mildew. Again, keeping the fixtures dry will help reduce the problem.


Contact Us

If you experience water quality problems and would like to speak with a water quality specialist, call (253) 502-8207.