Since the beginning of 2023, the service area has experienced intermittent discolored drinking water episodes caused by: water main breaks, source water quality changes, hit fire hydrants, water main cleaning, construction activity and maintenance of a facility in the water distribution system. These activities can increase the velocity and change the flow direction that water travels through water mains. Sediments lying on the bottom of the mains may get stirred up, resulting in discolored water.
Since 1999, ACWD has maintained an annual main cleaning program designed to remove these sediments on a routine basis. During periods of drought, as the region experienced in the past few years, ACWD modifies its annual main cleaning program to conserve water. When this program is modified or postponed, as was done in 2022 and 2023, the adjustment causes higher-than-normal amounts of sediment to accumulate on the bottom of the water mains, such that when stirred up, it causes discolored water.
ACWD has rescinded its drought ordinance and will resume the regular main cleaning program in the winter of 2024. Customers may continue to experience discolored water episodes when conditions mentioned above occur in the water distribution system. Please visit the Discolored Water FAQs to learn about discolored water and what to do if your drinking water becomes discolored.
Despite its appearance, discolored water does not indicate that the integrity of the water main has been compromised. A disinfectant residual is always maintained to ensure that the water continues to meet all state and federal health-based Drinking Water Standards. Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population such as immunocompromised persons, some elderly, and infants. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. In the meantime, ACWD customers may notice a slight discoloration in the drinking water caused by minute levels of the manganese mineral, making the water appear a light yellowish/brownish color. The discolored water is an aesthetic issue and not due to any failure of the water treatment processes. If you would like to learn more about discolored water or have any concerns, please visit our Discolored Water FAQs, or call us at 510-668-6500.