Water Discoloration

Discoloration can happen when the flow of water suddenly changes in your area, such as a water main break, causing natural sediments inside water pipes to be stirred up.

Is it safe to drink?

Discolored water may not be aesthetically pleasing, but it is safe to drink.

However, we do not recommend using discolored water to do laundry. Clothes can become stained.

What should I do?

Flushing the COLD water pipes in your home or business usually clears up the discolored water and will allow trapped sediments to be released.

Flush the COLD water lines in your home or business using the following steps.

  • Run all COLD water taps until the water runs clear.
  • Begin with the lowest faucet in your home or business and then open the other faucets one at a time, moving from your lowest floor to your highest. 
  • Once the water runs clear, turn off your faucets in the same order, lowest to highest.
  • You should also flush your refrigerator's water lines. 

If you experience discolored HOT water, sediment may be inside the hot water tank and has been temporarily stirred up.  Flush HOT water similar to the steps for COLD water.  If discolored water continues in your HOT water, your water heater may need to be flushed or serviced. 

We do not recommend using discolored water to do laundry. If clothing gets stained, immediately wash the clothes again using a rust remover product.  This type of product is available in most supermarkets.  For better results, do not let the clothes dry.

What is the Water Department doing?

The Water Department actively flushes hydrants and water lines to address the issue. 

For larger problems, the Town also consults with engineers to evaluate potential solutions.  Due to the complexities of the system and the need to continuously meet water supply demands, there is no "easy" solution.  The Town will need to conduct a more aggressive flushing program to remove sediments from the existing water lines.  Hydraulic modeling is required to determine the best way to conduct the flushing program.  The Water Department needs to be deliberate with the flushing program in order to avoid potentially causing discolored water in other neighborhoods.

As a long term solution to address the Town's water supply quality and quantity demands, the Town is assessing the ability to connect to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to supply drinking water.
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