Frequently Asked Questions

Water Quality FAQs

Why is my water discolored or muddy looking?

First, there is not actually any mud in the water delivered to your home and no mud can enter our pressurized water lines. However, there are minerals in the water that can settle in the main lines or accumulate on older household plumbing made from galvanized steel pipe. The two minerals that can cause the water to be discolored are iron and manganese. Neither of these minerals are harmful. They are found in most vitamin supplements. These minerals can accumulate in the bottom of the main lines over a number of years. When pressure changes occur in the water lines from line breaks, improper flushing of hydrants, fire use of hydrants, filling swimming pools or rapid turning on of the water (bathtub filling), these minerals can re-dissolve in the water and make it appear muddy. This situation is remedied by flushing from your outside hose spigots. If this is ineffective, contact CCWA’s Call Center at 770.960.5200.

My water smells of chemicals or bleach. Are there a lot of chemicals or extra chlorine in the water?

No. Chemicals such as chlorine are always kept at safe and unnoticeable levels. The chlorine is maintained in CCWA’s distribution system from 0.2 to 2.5 mg/l which is a fairly low level. Household bleach for example is 50,000 mg/l chlorine. These smells and possibly tastes can be from a number of sources:

  1. The small amount of chlorine reacting with smells in the air, in the drain or plumbing fixtures. Chlorine itself has no odor, but when it comes in contact with organic material like skin or odors, it will react and give the characteristic bleach smell. Try smelling bleach in the jug (not much odor). Then, put a drop on your skin and smell (bleach). This is caused by a chemical reaction with your skin (an organic substance). Remedy this by cleaning sinks and drains and running enough water to diminish the smells.
  2. Chemical smells can come from a garden hose that is connected to the house. If this hose has water left in it, the water can make its way back into the house by reverse pressure and make the water in the house taste and smell horrible. It can also affect tea and ice. Remedy this by keeping the hose disconnected when not in use or install a backflow device designed for hoses.
  3. Chlorine dioxide gas is used as a disinfectant at the water treatment plant. It is a good disinfectant and reduces the formation of compounds, such as trihalomethanes. When a water tap is open, small amounts of chlorine dioxide diffuse into the air and combine with existing household odors. All homes have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the ambient air produced by scented products (such as soaps, candles, air fresheners or incense), paint, carpet, furnishing or fresh flowers and many other common househould items. VOC/chlorine dioxide combination odors have been described as smelling like fuel, oil, kerosene, chemicals or cat urine. The odor will continue until the levels of VOCs decreases. The remedy is to increase ventilation by opening windows and turning on fans.

Why does my water look milky white?

This is caused by excessive amounts of air in the water lines. Air can get trapped in high places in household lines or mains. This trapped air then saturates the water passing through it under pressure and gives it the white, milky look. Fill a clear glass with water and let it sit on the counter. Watch as the milky look disappears with time. This situation is remedied by flushing from your outside hose spigots. If this is ineffective, contact CCWA’s Call Center at 770.960.5200, or your landlord.

Aerators at the end of faucets may also introduce air into the water and give it the appearanceof milky white water. Remedy this by removing the aerator from the end of your faucet.

Why do my strainers keep stopping up with white particles?

This is caused by a defective dip tube in the water heater. If this plastic tube is defective, it sheds its plastic, which then makes it way through your plumbing and gets trapped in the strainers. To remedy this, contact a licensed, professional plumber or the water heater manufacturer.

Why do my toilets and sinks have black or pink rings or spots on them?

This is caused by mold and mildew spores in the air. These spores land in these moist environments and form colonies that look pink or black. These organisms are not in the water, but in the air (they are not harmful). The remedy for this is to try to minimize these spores in the air. You may try allergy free filters, keeping lids down, sealing toilet tanks and fixing leaky faucets.

Why does my water smell like rotten eggs or rotting materials?

This is caused by a couple of things:

  1. Sulfate reducing bacteria in the hot water heater. These are non-harmful bacteria that can grow in extreme temperatures. They are even found in some hot springs. These bacteria take sulfate and change it into hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell). Remedy this by turning the water heater all the way up for 24 hours and then flush it and return the hot water heater to its normal temperature. Caution: Be extremely careful of scalding water during the 24-hour period. This water will burn very quickly. Extra caution should be used around children.
  2. Bad smells can come up from drains and be mistaken for being in the water. Remedy this by checking to see if it is actually the water. Do this by filling a clean glass with the water and then take it away from the sink and smell it. If there is no smell, it is the drain and a licensed, professional plumber should be contacted. If it is the water, contact CCWA’s Call Center at 770.960.5200 for other possible explanations.

What is the hardness of my water?

It is between 20 and 50 mg/l or 1 to 3 grains per gallon.

« See all Frequently Asked Questions

Enjoy all the comforts
of home - while saving water, energy & money.


Visit our
Wetlands Center

Learn more about the importance of protecting wetlands environments.