Latest News | Water Discoloration
Rubio Cañon Land and Water is addressing reports of cloudy and discolored water in some homes across certain areas of our system. In addition to working directly with customers experiencing issues, Rubio has been in contact with the State Water Board and water quality experts to implement solutions to address the problem. Ongoing tests demonstrate that Rubio’s drinking water is safe and meets United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water (DDW) standards.
In February last year, Rubio switched from its usual groundwater supply to surface water purchased from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) through the Foothill Municipal Water District. The switch was made due to proactive repairs and rehabilitation of our Well 7. During the rehabilitation the contractor reinstalled our pump and bowl assembly and turned on the Well for live production. However, during this rehabilitation the contractor experienced some issues with bacteria in the soil and samples collected. Further chlorination and video logs were done to zone in on the exact point of the newly introduced bacteria. Our well is still under rehab and we are taking multiple steps with General Pump to bring our Well 7 back online.
Purchasing water is seasonal in normal operating conditions, however, Rubio has not purchased water in over eight years. Mineral deposit build up does occur in pipes and may have been disrupted when switching from groundwater to surface water. However, it some portions of our system it appears that extended, ongoing usage of MWD water may be causing release of mineral build up from some pipes.
- IS OUR TAP WATER SAFE?
To date, ongoing tests of our water supply demonstrate it meets Federal and State drinking water quality requirements.
- WHAT IS THE BROWN-ISH COLOR?
Testing from the mainlines demonstrate the yellow and brown discoloration is caused by elevated mineral levels. When water stagnates in galvanized pipes (for example from taps not being used overnight), minerals can dissolve into the water and result in discoloration. While aesthetically unappealing, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the level of mineral build up in the discolored water some residents are experiencing is not harmful to your health. Even so, we fully acknowledge that discolored water is not acceptable, and we are working to address the issue.
- HOW WIDESPREAD IS THE PROBLEM?
The effects are predominately observed in dwellings with older, galvanized iron piping located near dead-end/cul-de-sac water mains. So far, out of the 3,150 water customers, fewer than 15 (residential) customers have reported discolored water.
- IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO AT HOME?
Most residents experiencing this issue should be able to clear the discoloration by running their faucet on cold for under a minute. Rubio can supply you with a bucket to collect and reuse water, which is safe for plants. Faucet aerators can trap ‘corrosion scales’, which can also add color to water. It is advisable to remove and clean faucet aerators regularly. Customers may also consider flushing water heaters annually to remove any material that precipitated in the heater over time.
- WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Rubio has used MWD water previously with no discolored water issues. However, it appears that extended, ongoing exposure to MWD water maybe causing release of minerals from some pipes.
Every community water supply and distribution system is unique. We ordinarily rely on groundwater, which is treated with chlorine for disinfection, but MWD’s surface water is treated with chloramines. While both are common water disinfectants, they have different chemical properties and can react differently with pipes and fixtures, particularly older galvanized iron pipes. We suspect that as MWD’s chloramine-treated water stays in some older pipes for a prolonged period, it may release some of the iron/minerals from the pipe and turn the water yellow or brown. Once this water is flushed through the pipes, water from the main system enters the home and water runs clear.
- WHAT ARE WE DOING RIGHT NOW?
1. Responding promptly to all discoloration complaints and queries.
2. Conducting water quality tests in affected residences to ensure water is disinfected adequately and is safe to drink.
3. Flushing the water system in areas of low water use, where water may stagnate.
- WHAT IF FAUCET FLUSHING DOESN’T WORK AT MY HOUSE?
We have visited many homes and found success through faucet flushing. Unfortunately, flushing from faucets may need to be repeated while we continue to rely on MWD water.
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