Water Quality Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is my water safe to drink?

    The RWA employs a multi-barrier approach to ensuring water quality. This approach focuses on watershed and aquifer management to protect the quality of our drinking water sources, treatment of the water prior to consumption, maintaining the distribution system that delivers the water to the tap and monitoring the quality to ensure compliance. Our water testing is stringent. Every year, we perform more than 110,000 tests on over 10,000 water samples. These tests show RWA’s water quality meets or, in most cases, is better than the state and federal standards. We report all of this information on a regular basis to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

  • Why does my water appear milky or cloudy?

    A milky or cloudy appearance is usually caused by air bubbles in the water, which pose no health risk. If the water is allowed to sit, the air will dissipate, and the water will clear. If the cloudiness does not disappear, please call us at 203-562-4020 so that we may investigate.

  • Should I buy a home filtration unit?

    According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, home treatment units are rarely necessary for health reasons. Most often, water treatment units are used to remove substances that affect the aesthetic qualities of the water. If you do choose to install a home treatment unit, it is important to follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions, because improperly maintained units can actually cause water quality problems.

  • What causes odor in hot water?

    The most common cause of odor in hot water is the water heater. If your cold water smells fine, check your water heater to ensure that the temperature setting is correct. Water heaters also need to be maintained by following the manufacturer's instructions.

  • What causes some water to be discolored?

    Color in water is usually caused by naturally occurring organic matter, minerals or mineral build-up in the pipes. At the RWA, we flush our water system regularly to clean mineral build-up and other sediment from the pipes. If you have lightly discolored water, you should let your faucets run until the water is clear. Such substances typically do not pose a health hazard; however, we ask that you please report any instances of discolored water to us at 203-562-4020 so we may investigate.

  • Is bottled water higher quality than tap water?

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates tap water. Bottlers must test their source water and finished product once a year. The RWA conducts over 110,000 tests on more than 10,000 water samples every year and reports the results on a regular basis to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Tap water is much less expensive, less than a penny a gallon, more highly regulated and better for the environment.

  • Why do RWA employees open fire hydrants?

    We conduct regular water system flushing to remove any mineral build-up and sediment from the pipes and also to ensure that water circulates adequately throughout the system. Fire hydrants may also be opened to conduct fire-flow capability tests.

  • Why does water need to be disinfected?

    Disinfectants are required because they prevent the spread of germs that cause diseases. Years ago, before disinfectants were used for drinking water, diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery were common. Drinking water disinfection has vastly improved the quality and safety of drinking water.

  • Why does my water taste or smell “funny”?

    The four most common reasons for bad-tasting or smelling water are:

    • A noticeable taste that can come from the chlorine that is added to your water to ensure that it is free of harmful bacteria. To reduce any chlorine taste or smell, try refrigerating your water before drinking.
    • A rotten-egg odor in some groundwater is caused by a nontoxic (in small amounts) smelly chemical – hydrogen sulfide – dissolved in the water.
    • As some algae, bacteria and tiny fungi grow in surface water sources, they give off nontoxic, smelly chemicals that can cause unpleasant tastes in drinking water. Different algae cause different tastes and odors, and the fungi can cause an earthy-musty taste.
    • Metallic tastes can come from copper that has dissolved from copper pipe and from iron from rusting iron pipes. Copper can cause short-term health problems like diarrhea and cramping. Iron has no effect on health.
  • Is it OK to use hot water from the tap for cooking or making baby formula?

    No, always use cold water. Hot water from the tap might contain rust, copper and lead from your household plumbing and water heater because these contaminants generally dissolve into hot water from the plumbing faster than into cold water.

  • Is there fluoride in drinking water from the RWA?

    The RWA, like all water systems in Connecticut that serve over 20,000 people, must ensure the range of fluoride in our finished water is between 0.55 mg/l (parts per million) to 0.85 mg/l (parts per million) as set in Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 19a-38. Almost all natural sources of drinking water contain some fluoride, so the RWA adjusts the amount of fluoride in the water to a level that helps reduce tooth decay and promotes good oral health. Thousands of research studies have shown that water fluoridation is safe, effective and the best way to improve oral health in a community. Given the large decrease in tooth decay during the past 60 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named water fluoridation one of Ten Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century.