General Water Quality Information
The water supplied to East Palo Alto residents meets all the standards for safe drinking as set by our State and Federal Governments. Our professional staff takes great pride in serving the East Palo Alto community and contributing to the treatment and sustainability of its most important resource - water.
Discolored Water (Rust colored, Yellow, Brown)
Your water can appear to look “dirty” with particles and/or discolored due to the presence of rust or sediment from piping materials in the home or the water distribution system commonly caused by:
- Breaks in the water mains or hydrants
- High water flow situations such as system tests or maintenance, construction activities or firefighting activities
- Rust from plumbing in the water mains or piping systems at your home
If you notice that your water is milky, cloudy, and/or looks white this may indicate the presence of air bubbles in the water. In order to determine if this is due to air in the water, fill a clear glass with water and allow it to sit for a couple minutes. The air bubbles should rise to the top and the cloudiness will dissipate with time if there is simply air in the water. All water contains dissolved oxygen; however, changes in water temperature and pressure results in supersaturation or bubble formation.
Check for persistent discoloration by opening the cold water tap closest to the water meter and let it run for 3-5 minutes to see if it clears up. If the water does not run clear after a 5 minute flush, close the fixture, wait one hour and repeat (may take several hours for sediments to settle in the water main). If the water clears you can flush other plumbing fixtures in the home or business by opening faucets or flushing toilets. If your hot water does not run clear, it is possible that the dirty/discolored water has entered your hot water heater or boiler. To avoid drawing discolored water into your water heater/boiler, avoid using the hot water until the cold water clears up. In that case, it is recommended that you call a plumber to flush the water heater or boiler.
White Particles in Water
If the particles in the water are white in color and float to the surface, this may indicate deterioration of the dip tube in the hot water heater. The dip tube extends to near the bottom of the hot water heater and is used to introduce cold water. White particles may also indicate that mineral deposits or scale have formed on piping or plumbing fixtures and have become dislodged.
Black Particles in Water
If the particles in the water appear to be black and float to the surface, then they may be caused by degradation of rubber (elastomer) plumbing parts in plumbing fixtures or hoses inside your home or business. Chloramine, which is used to disinfect the water, can accelerate the degradation process on certain types of rubber. Make sure that all replacement plumbing parts are made of chloramine resistant material.
Sandy water can be caused by particles that have accumulated over time in the distribution system or from unfiltered water systems. If the problem persists, flushing of the service main may be required.
What is hydrant flushing? Hydrant flushing moves water through sections of a water mains in the water distribution system.
• This process is critical to the overall maintenance of our distribution system and is one of the more important tasks we can perform to maintain high water quality. It improves the carrying capacity of pipes, and ensures proper operation of distribution system components; such as fire hydrants and valves.
• Flushing the water main lines also ensures that fire hydrants are operational and allows the operator to assess the available water pressure and flow rate for firefighting purposes. Flushing is used to bring fresh water into areas of the distribution system where the water main ends, otherwise know as dead ends.
Fire hydrant flushing consists of opening hydrants in targeted areas and discharging the water until the water becomes clear. Sometimes higher velocities are obtained to help clean, or scour, the water main, helping our water mains longevity and water capacity.
Veolia performs routine flushing all throughout the system each year to maintain water quality and as such isn’t able to notify customers each time a flushing event occurs.
If you would like more information on water quality please review the previous Water Quality Consumer Confidence Reports found here. Please access the current report here.
Also, please contact us with questions. Contact Us