Columbia

Water Quality FAQs

1.   Is my water safe to drink? Our water is safe to drink and meets the standards set by both the federal and state Environmental Protection Agencies.

2.   Why does my water have an odor and taste? Many taste and odor calls are due to the chlorine which is added to the water to kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms.  Others are due to tastes and odors in the river which are not removed by the plant and which only a few people can detect.

3.   Why is there a white residual on my pots and pans or in the toilet bowl?  Certain times of the year when there is less rainfall, the hardness in the water is higher because there has been no rainfall to dilute the minerals in the river.  This hardness can settle out in the plumbing in the form of a white or tan residue.  Hardness is calcium carbonate and is a substance that is beneficial to the human body.  Deposits can be removed with vinegar or a water softener can be installed to remove the calcium carbonate.  A high hardness content can sometimes form an oily appearing film on the top of the water.

4.   Why is my water a white color? If the white clears from the bottom up, it is due to excess air in the water.  When the cold water comes into a warm room, the air in the water rises to the top.  Sometimes it can actually look like milk.  This occurs frequently in the winter months.

5.   Why is there a black substance around my shower heads? Humidity loving molds or fungi in the air may grow on shower heads, in shower stalls or in the back of toilets.  The growth is typically seen at the interface of moisture and air.

6.   Why is there a black substance in my toilet bowl?  Sometimes rubber gaskets or other plumbing parts in appliances or toilets can break down and need replaced.

7.   Why does a pink substance occur in my bathroom? There is an airborne bacteria that grows in humid conditions that are pink color.  Cleaning with a chlorine solution would help.

8.   Why is my water red?  Red residue or color in the water is usually caused by the corrosion of galvanized lines in the house, the service line or the distribution system.

9.   Why is my water brown? This can occur when small particles, which have settled out of the water into the main over a period of time, have been stirred up after a hydrant flushing or a fire.

10. Should I get a water softener? This is a personal choice as there are pros and cons to using hard or soft water.  Home softened water is higher in sodium, more likely to corrode pipes, is additional expense, required periodic equipment maintenance and lacks natural calcium and minerals.  However, it can save soap and will not result in hardness deposits.  Hard water can dry the skin, can build up a residue in the pipes over time, and requires more detergent, but it contains calcium and magnesium minerals.

11.  Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?  Sometimes sulfur bacteria can grow in hot water heaters.  If this happens, flush the system well with chlorinated water.

12. Why is my water green?  This may be an indication that your copper piping is corroding.  This is more likely to occur if your water is softened or if there is improper electrical grounding.