Helpful information - Submit a Water Quality Issue

What can cause our water to have an earthy odor or discoloration?

Naturally-occurring organic compounds are created when plant material decays in reservoirs. Those organic compounds frequently cause earthy odors, especially toward the end of summer. The odors can be unpleasant, but generally are not harmful to health. Also, odor or discoloration can occur when water comes into contact with minerals, as groundwater filters through organic material or rocks.

Also, sediment in the mains gets stirred up by high flow hydrant use, construction activities and changes in water levels during times of high water use. Turn off your faucets and run an outside hose or tub for 2 minutes until the water runs clear.

Sometimes, the problem begins in your own home and can be resolved by replacing or flushing your water heater. If your cold water runs clear (test from outside spigot), but warm water is discolored, the problem is likely your water heater. Drain and flush your water heater tank annually to limit sediment build up.

Sometimes, your homes pipes have deteriorated and may need replacement. Check with neighbors to see if they have water issues. If not, that is a good indicator that you may need to have your home’s water lines inspected by a licensed plumber. Be sure to check several points, such as outside hoses, as well as hot and cold taps individually as some use mixing valves of both cold and hot, to help us determine the correct source.

Our water department monitors source waters on a regular basis. As we enter cooler temperatures, thermal cooling in the evenings occurs, cooling the source waters. This in turn normally stunts and/or stops the build-up of organic substances in the source water as the weather becomes cooler.

The Water Treatment Division of the DPW continuously tests and monitors the water in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Report problems to the DPW by submitting a request here

This creates a case for us to review, as well as maps the location in order to pinpoint any potential areas of concern.

Additionally, you can email us directly at dpw@rockportma.gov