Water is delivered to your home or business through a
network of underground pipes referred to as the distribution system. The
principal pipe or conduit is called a main. Water mains in this distribution
system can fail due to age, corrosion, high pressure surges, defective
materials, or damage by construction work. Fire hydrants can also be broken off
by vehicles. When a main breaks, the increased velocity of the water can pick
up dirt and other materials that normally settle to the bottom of the pipes.
Discolored water comes from internal pipe rust and sediment
getting stirred up. When this happens the water is still safe. However, the
water may be unappealing, so we recommend that you wait until it clears before
The water should clear on its own. Open the cold-water
faucet in the bathtub all the way open, full force, with the drain open, for
about 10 minutes. Most dirty water situations will clear up in this time. If
not, turn the water off, wait 10-15 minutes, and repeat the flushing again. If the
water does not clear, let the water sit for an hour. Then run the water for a
few minutes and flush the toilet a couple of times.
Avoid running hot water if the cold water is still discolored.
This will minimize filling the hot water tank with turbid water. If you are
washing clothes at the time, it is better to stop the cycle while it is full
and wait until clean water is available to finish. If you allow the water to
empty from the washing machine and go into the spin cycle it is more likely to
cause permanent staining to the laundry items.