Discolored Water

Update – October 1, 2017 

WSSC has safely adjusted its water treatment at the Potomac Plant to reduce discolored water in the system. WSSC was able to make the treatment change because the levels of organic material (decayed leaves, river grasses, trees, vegetation) in the Potomac River have dropped. It is important to note, it will take weeks to fully resolve the discolored water issue as manganese works its way through WSSC's extensive water distribution system.

Please read the latest press release for details about the water treatment change. WSSC first detailed the discolored water situation on August 14, 2017, during a press conference at the Potomac Plant. Please read the August 14, 2017, press release here.

What Can Customers Do?

Patience is key right now. Customers can try running their cold water lines for a few minutes to see if the discoloration can be flushed out. However, most customers currently experiencing discolored water are seeing the change as a result of the water coming into the Potomac Water Filtration Plant from the river. Flushing likely will not help in this situation.

Please DO NOT run your washing machine if you have discolored water. Laundry could become stained. If this happens, immediately wash the clothes again using a rust remover product. This type of product is available in most supermarkets or WSSC will send you rust remover. Click here to email us a request. Please include your full mailing address. You can also call to request rust remover.  During regular business hours (Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) please call 301-206-8100 or all other hours, please call 301-206-4002.

Frequently Asked Questions



If you are experiencing discolored water, please call us at 301-206-4002, or email us at emergencycallcenter@wsscwater.com, so we can better track this issue.

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 301-206-4002 or email us at communications@wsscwater.com and request a stain remover.



August 31, 2017

What's with the weird color of tap water in MD?

August 28, 2017
Water Online

WSSC Responds to Discolored Water Complaints

August 24, 2017

Residents Still Uneasy Following Declaration Fould Water is 'Safe'

August 21, 2017
The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Why Is the Water Brown In Montgomery And Prince George’s County?

August 21, 2017

WSSC Reassures Customers

August 18, 2017
Washington Hispanic

Agua del grifo sale turbia en condados de MD

August 17, 2017
Fox 5

WSSC ensures discolored tap water is safe, may continue longer than expected

August 17, 2017

Customers Impacted by Discolored Water Encouraged Request RIT

August 16, 2017
Washington Post

More Maryland residents will see brown water coming from taps, utility says

August 15, 2017
The Source of the Spring

WSSC Explains Cause of Water Discoloration

August 14, 2017 - Online Media


WSSC "sincerely apologizes" for yellow-colored tap water, vows it's safe to drink

Washington Post 

Discolored water showing up in Montgomery, Prince George’s. Yechhh.


Discolored Water Reported In Prince George's County Homes


WSSC: Brown Water Not a Health Hazard, But “Weeks” Before It Goes Away


WSSC on discolored water in Md.: It may get worse before it gets better


WSSC reassures community about discolored water

Facebook Livestream:

GM/CEO Carla Reid is joined by WSSC and County water and health officials at the Potomac Water Filtration Plant for a briefing on the cause of discolored water.