Water Quality

Discolored Water FAQs


At Aquarion Water Company, we take great pride in what we do, and we hold ourselves to the highest industry standards in delivering safe, high-quality, and affordable drinking water to our customers.

Why is my water discolored?

Naturally occurring minerals (primarily iron and manganese) are the usual the cause of discolored water. Trace levels of these minerals, which are heavier than water, can accumulate over time and settle in our water mains. When water flow through the water main increases or changes direction, it can stir up these accumulated minerals, and discolor the water that flows out of your faucets when you turn them on for use.   This can occur if there is a water main break, an open hydrant, scheduled water main flushing, fire-fighting activities, street sweeping, an  Engineering project and high demand particularly in the summer with irrigation systems running.

Can I use my water when it is discolored?

Discolored water is not palatable, and its quality has changed since it left our treatment facility.   Some people may be more vulnerable to substances in drinking water than the general population.  People who are immunocompromised, such as people undergoing chemotherapy, or have immune system disorders, and some elderly and infants can be at risk from infections.  These people should seek advice from their health care provider about drinking discolored water.  If you choose to drink it, fill a container, put in in your refrigerator to chill and let the minerals settle to the bottom.   Use the clear water from the top of the container.

What should I do if my water is discolored?

If water is lightly discolored, try running a cold water faucet located at the highest point in the house for five to 10 minutes to clear out internal plumbing.  If the initial cold water flush does not clear up the problem, wait about an hour and repeat.  The amount of water used should not affect your water bill.  You may also want to clean the aerator/screen on your faucet.  Avoid running the hot water – this will minimize getting discolored water into the hot water tank.

Please delay washing clothing until the water has cleared.  Discolored water can stain fabrics.

If the cold water remains discolored, customers should call Aquarion’s Customer Service Center at (203) 445-7310 or (800) 732-9678 to make us aware of the issue. This will allow our staff to begin evaluating the situation and keep records of incidents to help us curtail these events in the future. Once we are aware of the issue, we will investigate the potential cause and initiate corrective actions.

The following information will assist our staff in determining the cause of discoloration:

1. When did you first notice discolored water?

2. How long has it been discolored?

3. Did you see any work crews in the area, or anyone using a fire hydrant in the area?

4. Are both the hot and cold water discolored? If you have noticed discolored water in your cold water, but have not checked your hot water yet, please do not turn on your hot water because it can draw discolored water into your hot water tank.

What does Aquarion do if I report that my water is discolored?

If your water is discolored due to a water main break, once the break has been repaired by our staff, we will open fire hydrants in the area to flush discolored water from our water mains. Once the water flowing from our hydrant runs clear, you should then run your cold water faucets to flush any discolored water that has entered your service line or internal plumbing (as described above).

If the discolored water is not caused by a main break, Aquarion will first check if any other customers in your area have reported discolored water.   If more than one customer calls us about discolored water in an area, we will dispatch a service technician to proceed directly to your area and open a hydrant to flush any discolored water from our water mains.

What is Aquarion doing to address incidents of discolored water?

The best way to minimize the potential for flow disturbances to stir up accumulated sediments in our mains is to periodically use controlled hydrant flushing to remove these sediments from our mains. This is done by opening fire hydrants to intentionally create a controlled flow disruption, and then keeping the hydrants open and flowing to discharge the discolored water and sediments from the hydrants.

Does Aquarion notify customers about planned water main flushing that could cause discoloration?

Yes. When Aquarion plans to clean the mains by systematically flushing water out of fire hydrants (as described in the question above), customers receive advance notice through advertisements in local newspapers, and/or telephone notification for customers who are registered in our CodeRed system (you can join our CodeRed system by visiting our website at www.aquarion.com and clicking the link “sign up for CodeRed”).   It is also posted under our “Alerts & Outages” section of our website.