Particles in Water


  • Black particles can come from three common sources: a broken water filter, a degrading faucet washer or gasket, or a disintegrating black rubber flexible supply line hose (for a water heater, washing machine, or kitchen faucet, etc.).

  • Brown or orange particles are typically rust particles that have broken off the inside of your water pipes.  These particles are very hard, irregular in size and shape, and can be several different colors (including black).  Another common cause of brown or orange particles in the water is a broken water softener.  A water softener contains many small, round beads (or resin) for softening water.  The beads will be uniform in size, typically the size of fish eggs, and are brown or orange. Call your service agent for repairs.

  • If you leave filter jugs, vases and pet water bowls in sunlight, algae will start growing.  You can prevent algae growth by changing the water and cleaning the water jug, vase and bowl regularly.  Always keep your filter jug in the fridge, away from heat and light that can encourage the algae to grow.

Staining of Plumbing Fixtures and Glassware


  • White residue is commonly found on kitchenware and glass shower doors as the result of dissolved minerals found in water, such as calcium, magnesium and silica.  These are naturally occurring minerals and do not pose a risk to human health, but can build up on surfaces over time.  Carbonate deposits can be dissolved with white vinegar.  Also, commercial products are available to remove white residue caused by minerals in water.

  • The spots that may appear on glassware after it is washed and air-dried are caused by harmless minerals (usually calcium, magnesium and/or silica) that remain on the glass when the water evaporates.  Dishwasher deposits can be minimized by using a commercial conditioner, liquid detergents and using the air-dry instead of the power-dry setting on your dishwasher, which bakes the carbonates onto glassware. 

  • These stains are found in homes of any age, although they are most common in older homes with galvanized pipe.  Reddish brown stains may indicate high levels of iron from rust in your pipes.

  • These stains are due to copper in the water from copper plumbing.  Typically this occurs in homes less than 2 years old.  This problem gradually clears up on its own.

  • People sometimes see a pink film develop on the flat surfaces of their shower, shower curtains, or in the toilets. This is a colored organism present in the air that is called Serratia marcescens. It is a harmless bacteria and grows in any moist location where phosphorous containing materials or fatty substances accumulate. Sources of these substances include soap residues in bathing areas, feces in toilets, soap and food residues in pet water dishes. The customer can remove the pink film by cleaning the area periodically with a commercial cleaning product that contains bleach. Where possible, keep the area clean and dry to discourage the spores from growing back.

General Questions About Drinking  Water


  • Yes. Liberty Utilities routinely samples and analyzes water quality from the source, through the treatment process, and throughout the distribution system to ensure the water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards established by State and Federal Regulations.

  • No, High levels of toxic lead and phthalate chemicals are still present in many garden and yard water hoses today and these substances are not good for you or your pets.  There are hoses made with “drinking water safe or food grade” but they still could contain phthalates and microbial contaminants may accumulate after a hose sits unused.

  • Water from the hot water faucet should not be used for drinking or food or beverage preparation.  Hot water systems (tanks, boilers) contain metallic parts that corrode over time and contaminate the water.  Hot water is more corrosive than cold water and is more likely to contain unhealthy compounds.

  • Liberty Utilities’ water meets very stringent state and federal water quality standards.  Not only we test for chemicals that the federal and state government require – we test for much more. Standards for bottled water are far less stringent than the standards we meet. In studies done by independent organizations, some bottled water was not all that it had claimed to be. In fact, much of it comes from municipal water systems. Bottled water also creates a tremendous amount of plastic that must be dealt with. Then there is the issue of price.  Bottled water can cost over 3000 times more than Liberty Utilities’ tap water.  We have them beat on quality, safety, and price!

  • Liberty Utilities has not detected lead in its treated water or source water.  However, lead can come from a customer’s plumbing and/or service line.  Lead can enter drinking water when the water comes in contact with plumbing materials such as lead solder, or when it comes in contact with faucets, valves, and other components made of brass (brass may have lead in it). For more information about lead in drinking water visit our Water Safety page

  • Microorganisms can be found in raw water from rivers, lakes and groundwater. While not all microorganisms are harmful to human health, there are some that may cause diseases in humans. These are called Pathogens. Chlorine is a highly efficient disinfectant that is added to the public water supply to kill those disease-causing pathogens and at the same time prevents them to grow on the walls of the water distribution system lines or reservoirs. For more information about drinking water chlorination click below:

    Click Here

     


Taste and Odor of Water


  • Liberty Utilities is required to add very small and safe amounts of chlorine to your water to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.  This may mean that you encounter chlorine-type tastes and odors from time to time.  Liberty Utilities carefully monitors the levels of chlorine added to the water to make sure your water is always safe to drink and use.  Even though the odor may be stronger when water is warmed up, it’s still perfectly safe to use. 

  • If you find chlorine taste in the water objectionable, fill a container with water and store it in the refrigerator for drinking.  Leave the cap slightly loose and most of the chlorine smell should dissipate.
    You can also use a hand-held pitcher with an activated carbon filter to remove chlorine, or install a point-of-use water treatment device on a faucet for your cooking and drinking water.  If you plan to store water from these devices, treat the water as a food product, and use clean, airtight containers and refrigerate, as the water is no longer protected from bacteriological contamination.

  • If the water supply is causing the odor, you will experience the odor at every water faucet and it will be persistent. If the source of the odor is in your plumbing, you will experience the odor in only one or several, but not all, of the faucets. If the problem goes away after running the water for a few minutes, the cause is somewhere in your plumbing. Contact Liberty Utilities at (800) 727-5987 if you suspect the public water supply is the problem.

    When you detect an odor in your tap water, we recommend that you perform a glass test at the faucet where you detect the odor:

    • Run the cold water tap for at least 30 seconds.
    • Get a clean glass, then fill and rinse twice with cold tap water. Fill the glass and turn off the faucet.
    • Step away from the sink (This eliminates the possibility of mistaking odors from your drain for odors in your water.)
    • Smell the water in the glass and characterize the odor, if any.
  • Water with a metallic or bitter taste is most likely a sign of corrosion in older galvanized iron and copper pipe plumbing in your home.  A metallic or bitter taste is most likely to occur first thing in the morning or after extended periods of no water use.  If you experience a metallic or bitter taste in your water, turn your tap on full flow for at least 30 seconds to flush out the stagnant water.  The water will be replaced with fresh water from Liberty Utilities’ water supply.

  • Sometimes customers report that their tap water smells septic, swampy, moldy or like sewage, sewer gas, sulfur or rotten eggs. These odors are often caused by gases forming in the household drain. These gases are formed by bacteria which live on food, soap, hair and other organic matter in the drain. These gases are heavier than air and remain in the drain until the water is turned on. As the water runs down the drain, the gases are expelled into the atmosphere around the sink. It is natural to associate these odors with the water because they are observed only when the water is turned on. In this case, the odor is not in the water, it is simply the water pushing the gas out of the drain. This can be verified by taking a glass of water from the tap and walking away to another area to smell the glass of water.

    Cold Water: If the odor is not evident in the glass, but is noticeable when you are standing at the sink with the cold water is running, then the odor is most likely coming from the drain. This problem is easily solved by filling the sink with hot water, adding a few ounces of chlorine bleach, and allowing the hot chlorinated water to flush and disinfect the drain. It is also good practice to periodically remove and clean the sink stopper. The garbage disposal in the kitchen sink can be cleaned in a similar manner.

    Hot Water: If you find these odors in your hot water, there are two probable causes:

    • Bacteria may be residing in the water heater. Disinfecting the water heater may eliminate this odor.
    • The water heater anode may need to be replaced. If experienced, inspect the anode yourself; otherwise, call a plumber.

     

     

Hardness of Water


  • Water described as "hard" is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium and is expressed as concentration of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Hard water doesn’t represent a health risk, but can be a nuisance because of mineral buildup on fixtures and poor soap and/or detergent performance.

    The hardness of your water will be reported in grains per gallon, milligrams per liter (mg/l) or parts per million (ppm). One grain of hardness equals 17.1 mg/l or ppm of hardness.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes standards for drinking water which fall into two categories -- Primary Standards and Secondary Standards.

    Primary Standards are based on health considerations and Secondary Standards are based on taste, odor, color, corrosivity, foaming, and staining properties of water. There is no Primary or Secondary standard for water hardness. Water hardness is classified by the Water Quality Association as follows:

    Classificationmg/l or ppmgrains/gal
    Soft<17.0< 1.0
    Slightly hard17.1 - 3.51.0 - 3.5
    Moderately hard60-1203.5 - 7.0
    Hard120-1807.0 - 10.5
    Very hard180 and over10.5 and over


    NOTE: Other organizations may use slightly different classifications.

  • Hardness of water varies depending of the source and location. Water is generally classified into two groups: surface water and groundwater.

    Surface water is found in lakes, rivers and streams and is drawn into the public water supply by an intake. Surface water is usually not very high in mineral content (calcium and magnesium), and is often called “soft water” even though the hardness can be high as well.

    Groundwater is located underground in large aquifers and must be pumped out of the ground after drilling a deep well. Groundwater is water contained in or by a subsurface layer of soil or rock. This is the water you most often drink. Due to the minerals picked up while filtering through the rocks, groundwater is typically considered to be “hard” water.

  • Hard water is not a health hazard, but dealing with hard water in the home can be a nuisance. The hardness (calcium and magnesium concentration) of water can be approximated with a home-use water testing kit, or can be measured more accurately with a laboratory water test. If you have any questions please contact us at 1-800-727-5987.

    You can check the hardness of your water in the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) by clicking the button below.

     View CCR

Color and Appearance of Water


  • Milky or cloudy water is often caused by oxygen bubbles in the pipes that are released when water leaves the tap.  Cloudiness and air bubbles do not present a health risk.  Construction in the distribution system can also allow air to enter the pipes and cause the appearance of cloudy water. 

    You can test this by running the cold water into a clear container and observing it for a few minutes.  If the water clears from the bottom to the top of the container, air bubbles are rising to the surface.  If the water in the glass clears from the top-down, and white or grey particles settle to the bottom, this may indicate a water heater issue.

  • If the discoloration is detected only in your hot water supply, it is likely an indication of an issue with your hot water heater.  You should consult your owner’s manual for instructions on how to flush your hot water heater and for warnings regarding this task or contact a licensed plumber.

  • The internal plumbing of your house is likely the culprit if discolored water appears only for a minute or two after you turn on the tap. Many houses have galvanized iron pipe, when the zinc coating on the inside of galvanized iron pipe wears thin, the water becomes discolored as it comes in contact with bare iron. The longer the water sits in the pipes, the worse the discoloration will be. That is why this problem is most noticeable the first time you turn on the tap in the morning. If only a few taps are affected, only a portion of your internal plumbing has galvanized pipe. After running your tap for a few minutes, clean water from the water main will replace the discolored water

    If the water’s speed becomes great enough, iron and manganese sediment lying on the bottom of the mains may get stirred up, resulting in discolored water. Any of the following circumstances may have created flow reversals or increase speeds in the water mains causing sediment to be disturbed:

    • The discolored water may be due to planned cleaning of the water main to remove pipeline sediments in your area.
    • A nearby water hydrant may have been knocked over due to a vehicle collision or may be in use.
    • There may be some pipeline repair work (or construction activity) in the area and some valves may have been closed for this work.
    • Valve turning, routine maintenance, or main breaks.