Maintaining Water Quality Indoors
Wellington Utilities Department works diligently to produce high quality drinking water that complies, and in most cases, exceeds Agency requirements. That said much could happen between the supply pipes in the street and your indoor taps. Though Wellington employees will work personally with homeowners to help trouble shoot complaints, indoor plumbing problems are ultimately the responsibility of homeowners. The purpose of this handout is to provide helpful hints that can significantly improve water quality inside your home.
The Utility Department is committed to supplying Wellington's residents with high quality drinking water. Please call Laurie Hand, Regulatory Compliance Manager, if you have any questions or comments concerning the quality of Wellington's drinking water.
Examples of complaints received by Village of Wellington staff include:
- particulate matter
- the appearance of mold
- and "reddish" color near drains or shower curtains.
The following are possible causes for these occurrences.
- Stagnant Water: (Odor and color). Stagnated water may be the result of inadequate use of indoor taps, such as guest baths. Musty odors may occur if a home has been vacant for a period of time.
- Standing Water: (Color and mold). Sinks, tubs, shower heads, shower curtains, dishwashers, and washing machines may never completely dry. Black, brown, or dark gray spots may be mold. A reddish color appearing around drains or at the bottom of a shower curtain might be residual mineral deposits or a bacteria called serratia marcescens (a common indoor bacteria that thrives in moist environments).
- Water Heaters: Color, odor, and particulates). Hot water dissolves contaminants causing metals, sediments, or bacteria to build up in the tank.
Steps You Can Take
The following are actions you may take as a homeowner to be certain you are receiving fresh, quality water beyond the Utility's distribution system:
- Unscrew and clean metal aerators on the tip of sink taps. Particulates can collect on the screen reducing water quality and lowering flow rate. Replace aerators and O-rings as needed.
- Flush each tap inside your home with cold water (with sink aerators removed). Run the bathtub cold water and flush toilets.
- Do one room at a time to maintain high pressure and flush each room for 2 to 3 minutes. Flush taps if the water has not been in use for a few days and after any plumbing repairs.
- Use only cold water for drinking and preparing food. Use hot water only for washing or bathing. Hot water quality may be less than that of the cold water.
- Drain (flush) water heaters occasionally according to manufacturer's instructions (usually annually). Water heaters generally have a 6 to 15 year lifespan. Galvanized plumbing can corrode with time causing a rusty to dark brown color to develop inside the tank. Flush a nearby tap using only hot water followed by a cold water flush to check for a color difference.
- Clean dishwashers and washing machines according to manufacturer's recommendations.
- Keep drain outlets clean and dry to reduce the accumulation of minerals or the growth of bacteria.
- Replace outdated or repair damaged plumbing. The solder used to join pipes or O-ring seals may deteriorate and begin to crumble.
- Change filters on secondary water purification devices (including refrigerator dispensers) and have "whole-house" treatment systems and softeners checked by a service professional for functionality.
Water Main Breaks / Pressure Loss
When water quality issues are the result of water main breaks or pressure loss, Wellington Utility Department will notify all residents in the affected area and provide instruction. These events usually involve implementing a precautionary boil water notice for at least two days until bacteriological samples prove the water is safe to drink. Interior flushing may be required following these events.
Finally, it is important to note that some of the chemicals used in the treatment processes at the Water Plant have color which in turn, can create a slight tint in the final product. This is typically not visible until filling a white basin such as a sink, bathtub, or a pool. The larger the volume of water contained, the more apparent the color becomes. This occurrence is not a health hazard.