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FAQs - Water Quality
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes the water from my faucet is very cloudy. Is this harmful?
Water in the distribution system is under pressure. Since our water system is pressurized, this phenomenon usually occurs at the tap, resulting in cloudy water and/or ice cubes.

Air sometimes dissolves in the water in the pressurized lines. At the faucet, the air gives water a "cloudy" or "milky" appearance. The quality of the water is not affected. Let the water stand in an open container for a few minutes. The air in the water will disperse to the atmosphere.

Why does my drinking water sometimes taste like chlorine?
Chlorine is added to potable water supplies to ensure that the water delivered to our customers is safe from bacterial contamination. Although bacterial contamination in deep wells is nearly nonexistent, water regulation, effective as of 1991, requires that all domestic water systems be disinfected. Chlorine is the most popular disinfectant used in the United States. One technique customers close to a chlorination point may use is get rid of the taste is to let the water stand 20 minutes before drinking. This will allow excess chlorine to vaporize away, nearly eliminating the chlorine taste of the water. Another technique to help the chlorine taste disappear is to chill tap water in a pitcher or bottle in the refrigerator and or add a slice of lemon for a refreshing drink.

Chlorine taste concerns may be reported to the Public Works Department at
(623) 333-4400, or DAllred@avondale.org 
 

What is hard water?
If calcium and magnesium are present in the water in substantial amounts, the water is said to be hard. Hard water can cause deposits in a bathtub or white deposits on your cooking pots and coffee maker. In general, Avondale has relatively hard water. The average hardness is approximately 300 to 400 parts per million (ppm) or 18 - 23 grains per gallon. Hard water is not unhealthy, but the minerals can affect the way it tastes. A simple filter system can be used to improve the look and taste of tap water. For tips on improving the taste of your water visit www.tapintoquality.com

Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?
Bacteria growing in sink drains and garbage disposals can make hydrogen sulfide gas. The gas causes a rotten egg smell that appears to be coming from the water but is really coming from the drain. When water runs down the drain, the gas is forced out where you can smell it.  

Smelly Sink Drains
An environmentally friendly alternative:
  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain(s) and or garbage disposal
  • then 1 cup of white vinegar
  • Allow to bubble and sit for 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile heat up a quart of water
  • Pour hot water down the drain(s); garbage disposal
  • Doing this at least every two months will help keep your drains free of organic matter and help reduce those pesky smells.

How can I flush out my garbage disposal? 
  • Start by running hot water through your garbage disposal for a minute.
  • Pour about cup of baking soda into the drain.
  • Flip the garbage disposal on for 2 seconds, just to whirl the baking soda inside, and then leave it alone for 10-15 minutes.
  • Follow with 1 c. of vinegar. Watch the bubbles erupt out of your drain. (Yay!)
  • Rinse through one last time with very hot water and run your garbage disposal for 5 seconds.


Hot water heaters
can also harbor bacteria that cause rotten egg smells. If your sink drain is not the source, check your hot water for rotten egg smells. Maintaining a water heater once a year will eliminate many water quality problems.

When and how should I flush my hot water heater?
Although the city does not deal directly with hot water heaters, please contact an appliance service provider or plumber to help flush the water heater if you are not comfortable in flushing the water heater yourself.  Heating water will naturally make water more aggressive or corrosive. 

To flush a hot water heater, first turn off the heating (or pilot) system by turning off the gas or electricity to the unit and letting the unit stand for 20 minutes to cool down the elements.

After the heating element is cooled:
 
  • Attach a garden hose to the spigot located near the bottom of the tank 
  • Open the spigot and drain the tank to an open drain area 
  • Close the drain valve after drainage is complete 
  • Allow the water heater to fill completely before starting the heating system 
  • Please follow your manufacturers’ instructions, if different from those above.

Will home water treatment units make tap water safe?

Most people do not need to treat their drinking water at home to make it safe. A home water treatment unit can improve water's taste, or provide an extra margin of safety for people more vulnerable to the effects of waterborne illness (people with severely compromised immune systems and children may have special needs). Consumers who choose to purchase a home water treatment unit should carefully read its product information to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste or a certain method of treatment. Be certain to follow the manufacturer's instructions for operation and maintenance, especially changing the filter on a regular basis.

No single unit takes out every kind of drinking water contaminant; you must decide which type best meets your needs. Both NSF International (877-867-3435) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (888-547-8851) test and certify home water treatment units. The Water Quality Association (630-505-0160) classifies units according to the contaminants they remove as well as listing units that have earned their “Gold Seal” approval. Water treatment units certified by these organizations will indicate certification on their packaging or labels. 


Links to water quality and information on water treatment units
Tap Into Quality 
http://www.tapintoquality.com

Home water drinking systems and how they work
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/publicat/wqwm/he419.html

Protect yourself when selecting a home water treatment system 
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/publicat/wqwm/he418.html

Should I buy a home water treatment system 
http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK5650.html