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FAQ's: Water Quality, Taste and Appearance
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What if my water appears dirty and cloudy?

From one faucet only – If the problem is only at one tap, it is related to the building’s plumbing, not the town water supply.

From the hot water faucet only – The water heater could be the source of the problem, refer to the owner’s manual or call a plumber.  Do not use hot water from the faucet for cooling or drinking.  Hot water systems (heaters, boilers) contain metallic parts that corrode over time and the metals become dissolved in the hot water.

From the hot and cold water taps, or from more than one tap in the house or building – If you have water that appears dirty from both the cold and hot water taps, it is most likely due to corrosion of the internal plumbing or the source could be the town water supply.  Run the cold water for a few minutes.  Always run the cold water when you are trying to clear the lines.  This reduces the chance of drawing dirty or rusty water into the hot water tank.  If the water does not clear after this, please call the Fairhaven Water Department.

Black Particles

Black particles in the water at one faucet – The particles are likely from a disintegrating washer or corrosion of the plumbing.  Run the water for a few minutes to clear the particles.  If there is a screen in the faucet, remove and clean it, or clean the aerator.  If the problem persists, call a plumber.

Black particles in the toilet bowl water – The black particles are likely the result of the disintegration of the float in the toilet tank.  The float is especially likely to break down over time if you use an automatic toilet bowl cleaner in the tank.  Replace the float or call a plumber about replacing the float.

Black particles in the water from only the hot water faucet – The particles are coming from the hot water system, such as the water heater, not the city water supply.  Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance of the water heater or call a plumber.

Black particles in the cold water from all of the faucets – The black particles likely originate in the water main.  Particles in the main could be loosened if there has been a fire in the area and a hydrant was opened, if there is construction in the area, or if a hydrant was improperly opened and/or closed.  Call the Fairhaven Water Department during regular business hours or if after business hours or on week-ends, call our answering service.  Weather permitting; the Fairhaven Water Department will flush the main by opening a fire hydrant and letting the water run until it is clear.  When the crew has finished, let the cold water at faucets throughout the building run for a few minutes to clear the lines.  Remove and clean faucet screens and aerators.

Gray/White particles

The faucet screens are clogged with white/gray particles that float in the water – The particles are most likely the result of a disintegrating dip tube in your water heater.  Some water heaters have a dip tube made of polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride that can disintegrate over time.  Call a plumber.  Periodically remove the screens from the faucets and clean them.

The faucet screens are clogged with white/gray particles that sink in the water – The particles are likely calcium carbonate.  Your water heater may need routine maintenance.  Consult the owner’s manual.  Periodically remove the screens from faucets and clean them.  If the particles persist, call the Fairhaven Water Department.

Pink growth on bathroom fixtures – The pink growth or stain is the result of a mold or a bacterium, specifically, Serratia marcescens.  The mold is present in the air.  Mold and bacteria grow wherever there is a warm, moist or humid environment, like a tub or showerhead.  The mold and bacteria feed on the small quantities of nutrients in water.    Regular cleaning with bleach or a cleaner that removes mildew will clear the mold.  Wipe away any standing water to reduce growth.  Certain materials, like rubber, plastic gaskets, etc., contain nutrients that help these organisms grow.

Water appears rust-colored

The water at only one faucet appears rust-colored – The corrosion of iron pipes causes water to appear rusty, yellow or brown colored.  Because the discoloration occurs at only one tap, it is an indication of possible internal plumbing problems, not the town water supply.  Call a plumber.

Water at all of the faucets appears rust-colored – The corrosion of iron pipes causes water to appear rusty, yellow or brown colored.  If you see the color at all of the faucets, it is coming from the water main feeding your building.  Run all of the cold water taps until the water runs clear, approximately 5-10 minutes.  If the problem persists, call the Fairhaven Water Department.  Rusty water can stain laundry so avoid washing laundry, particularly white items, until the water clears.  If you see rust stains on your laundry, you may want to try a product such as “Iron-out,” found in the laundry detergent section of stores.  Do not use bleach. If the rusty water is an ongoing problem, call the Fairhaven Water Department during regular working hours.


 
40 Center Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719
ph: 508.979.4023    fx: 508.979.4079
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