Water Service Questions and Information
Temporary discolored water may be caused by a number of factors. The most frequent causes are water main breaks, seasonal water main flushing, and seasonal fire hydrant maintenance all of which stir up sediment in the lines.
What to do if your water is discolored:
Discolored water should not be used for drinking, food preparation, or other activities that require clean water. While the City's water is strictly tested against bacteria and harmful agents, using discolored water is not pleasant and may cause laundry staining.
If discolored water is being caused by flushing or maintenance in your area, we recommend waiting until the work has been completed. Then run a cold water tap for one to two minutes until the water runs clear again. (Running a hot water tap may pull sediment into your hot water tank). If the water still doesn't clear, wait and try again later. If it still isn't clear after a couple of hours, please report it to the City using our 'Service Request' or through phone, email or Facebook so we can investigate. We will try to determine the root cause of your discoloration.
What to do if you have stained laundry:
Don't use bleach, hot water, or the dryer, as these will all set rust stains. Instead, rewash your laundry as soon as possible (once your water line is running clean again) using a strong detergent. Rust specific products are also available commercially.
Why doesn't the City reimburse for running cold water taps to clear them?
Running a tap for a minute or two only uses a few gallons of water, and the City's water rate is roughly one cent per gallon. Typically clearing sediment from a tap after flushing or a water main break will cost less than $0.25.