Dirty Water – Don’t call Ghost Busters – Call your water provider! Do’s and Don’ts!

Violia Water Maintenance flushing its line on our street corner

Earlier this week I was running water in our master bathroom sink when I noticed the water was coming out “tea” brown. I checked our toilet on the other end of the house, and it was also flushing brown. Everyone has this happen on occasion and it can be a water system issue or the “dreaded” I have a leak in one of my exterior pipes – yike! I should have purchased that insurance the water company is always pushing on me! It was almost 10 PM. I took a deep breath and decided I’d call Veolia (24/7 service line 208-362-7304), our water provider and ask if there was a system issue. Of course, I got voice mail at that time and left a message.

The next morning at around 9 AM I got a return call from Veolia from a “real person”. The young lady asked me if the situation had improved, and I said that things had cleared up. She told me that they were sending out a maintenance crew just in case to flush the line at the street. Fifteen minutes later the maintenance truck was at our corner flushing from the hydrant.

Ok, so I asked my Violia maintenance man “Why do we get these occasional spates of discolored water. He told me that there are several reasons for discolored water, which is generally rust that is dislodged from the sides of the water pipes. He added that rust actually protects the pipes and creates a barrier between the water and the pipe and reduces pipe erosion. Occasionally, this rust will be dislodged or loosened due to:

  • A surge of water pressure due to opening a line or closing a line.
  • Heavy construction equipment overhead will cause ground vibrations loosening rust.
  • Even small shifts in the earth that occur naturally can cause a loosening of rust.

A TIP and Very Good to Know –

  • If you have discolored or water with an odor – Call you water provider right away so they can be aware of the issue.
  • Avoid (DO NOT) run “hot” water to flush the water in your house. Running hot water draws the problem water into your hot water heater and from there sediment will settle into the bottom of your water heater tank and this could require you to completely drain your hot water heater to clean it out.
  • To flush dirty water already in your home piping fully open the COLD Water tap in a bathtub and let it run until the water clears – this is assuming you’ve called your provider and the issue has been flushed out of the system on their end. Then you are good to go!

After I called Veolia, they even told me that I would be getting a credit against my next billing because I had to use water to flush my home system. I thought they provided great service!

Now maybe the above information wasn’t helpful to many folks because “intuitively” they knew not to run the hot water to clear the system. For those who aren’t always at their “intuitive” best, like me, I hope this information helps.