Discolored water is not unique to the RWA. Water distribution systems across the U.S. also experience this issue. Water main breaks, firefighting activities, vehicles hitting fire hydrants and the start-up or shut-down of water treatment plants can increase the speed of water traveling through water mains. The increased rate of flow often causes the iron and manganese sediment (naturally occurring minerals) lying on the bottom of the mains to get stirred up, resulting in discolored water.
Although the water may be visually unappealing, it is not harmful. It is a personal choice whether or not to use the discolored water. As always, people with compromised immune systems should consult their physician before ingesting it.
To drink lightly discolored water, fill a container, put it in your refrigerator to chill and let the color settle to the bottom. When ready to drink, use the clear water from the top of the container. Additionally, customers experiencing discolored water are advised to:
Yellow, orange, reddish or brown water
This problem is sometimes seen first thing in the morning, or after periods of lower water use. It is also seen at seldom-used faucets. The water should clear after flushing the faucet briefly. The cause is most likely galvanized iron plumbing in the building. It does not indicate that the plumbing is about to fail or that it needs to be replaced unless there is also a noticeable reduction in water pressure.
If this is only occurring with hot water, flushing the hot water tank may help by clearing out the sediment in the bottom of the tank. Hot water increases the rate of corrosion in plumbing. You may want to consult a plumber for safety precautions.