Discolored Water Reported in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties

Tests Indicate Drinking Water Meets Regulatory Standards

| News Release



Laurel – April 3, 2015 – WSSC is receiving a heavier than normal volume of customer calls noting they are experiencing discolored water. As part of our operating procedures, WSSC conducts daily water tests and there is no reason to believe there is a public health risk.

The calls are coming in from throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. It is believed the discolored water is a by-product of the harsh winter. WSSC staff continues to respond to customer calls and to research the situation.

Customers who believe their water is discolored are asked to call or email WSSC to report it. The number is 301.206.4002 and is open 24/7 or send an email to EmergencyCallCenter@wsscwater.com.

Discolored water is caused when iron deposits in the pipes are released. This sediment is not harmful and can be stirred up by sudden changes in water flow.

Water discoloration may be caused by:

  • Temporary increases in the water flow disturbing sediment.
  • Closed WSSC valves may disturb the water flow of nearby mains causing a temporary increase or reversal of flow stirring up sediment.
  • Fully opening a fire hydrant for firefighting purposes can cause a sudden increase in flow, which may temporarily cause discoloration.
  • New water mains might cause a change in established flow patterns and cause temporary discoloration.

Although water is safe for drinking, customers with compromised immune systems (such as cancer patients undergoing treatment, HIV positive individuals, transplant recipients, seniors, and infants) should take the same precautions they normally take with regular tap water and/or seek advice from their physician before consuming discolored water.

When WSSC receives calls about discolored water it is common for our crews to open a fire hydrant or a couple hydrants in the area to flush out the water lines. The flushing, which can last as long as several hours, often resolves the problem. Customers will see a lot of water flowing down the street when hydrants are opened for flushing.

WSSC does 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 or you can contact WSSC at 301-206-4001 or contact us online and request a stain remover.  For better results, do not let the clothes dry.

Throughout the year, WSSC tests the water more than 500,000 times at water treatment plants and throughout the distribution system, allowing WSSC to guarantee that the safest water reaches customers.

Additional information on discolored water can be found by visiting our FAQ page. Customers can also read our latest Water Quality Report at https://www.wsscwater.com/wqr.

WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.

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