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Drinking Water Quality FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions

about Water Quality

 

For problems after office hours, please call our

24-hour emergency number at 425-257-8821.

 

Why does my water taste or smell like chlorine?

Do I need a water treatment or water filtration device?

Is bottled drinking water safer than tap water?

Why does my tap water look dirty or discolored?

What are the white particles in my bathtub and faucet screens?

What is the normal water pressure in the City?

What are the normal flow rates from a water service?

Who do I call if I have a sewer or drainage problem?

Who do I call if I have an emergency after normal business hours?

Who should I call if I need my water shut off?

What is the pink and black stuff that forms on moist surfaces?

 

 

Why does my water taste or smell like chlorine?

 

Chlorine is used to disinfect your drinking water and eliminate disease-causing microorganisms. As a result, there may be an odor or taste of chlorine when you first turn on your faucet in the morning. However, this should dissipate after you run the water for a few minutes. If your water has a persistent taste or odor, call the City of Everett Public Works Department at 425-257-8821.

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Do I need a water treatment or water filtration device?

 

Because your water comes from a high quality source and is treated effectively, the Washington State Department of Health advises that water treatment devices are not required. However, treatment devices, such as activated carbon filters, can be used to improve that taste of your water by removing chlorine and other substances that can cause poor taste or odors.

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Is bottled drinking water safer than tap water?

 

Not necessarily. Like tap water, the safety of bottled water depends on where it comes from and how it is treated. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as tap water is. If you are using bottled water for health purposed, you should research the product to make sure that it is providing the benefits you are looking for. For a copy of the City’s water quality testing results, call 425-257-8821.

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Why does my tap water look dirty or discolored?

 

Dirty or discolored water can be the result of several things. If you have galvanized iron plumbing, the inside of the pipe corrodes over time and may release rust particles that can turn your water pale yellow to dark brown. While the discoloration is unpleasant, it is not harmful. Unfortunately, the only lasting fix is to replace your rusty pipes with copper or plastic.

 

If the discoloration only occurs when you use hot water, your hot water tank may be the problem. In this case, you may need to flush your hot water tank and check for corrosion and/or a missing corrosion anode. If you don’t know how to do this, you should call a plumber.

 

Finally, if you have copper or plastic plumbing and a relatively new hot water tank, the discoloration may be due to a temporary disturbance in the water main. As water travels through the distribution lines, sand and rust settle to the bottom of the water lines. Sudden changes in water flow, such as a break in the water main, can disturb these sediments and temporarily discolor your water. If this happens, wait 30 minutes. Then, turn on the cold water and let it run for 10 to 15 minutes. If you have dirty or discolored water that does not clear up, call us at 425-257-8821.

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What are the white particles in my bathtub and faucet screens?

 

The white particles are usually the result of a breakdown of the plastic inlet tube, or dip tube, in your hot water tank. From 1992 to 1996, most of the hot water tanks that were manufactured in the U.S. had defective dip tubes. After a period of time, the plastic breaks down and disintegrates into tiny grains or flakes of white or bluish-white plastic. These tiny particles float and can appear in the bathtub or clog the screens in your faucets. If you have this problem, contact the company you bought or leased your hot water tank from. In some cases, a new dip tube can be installed in the tank. In other cases, the hot water tank will have to be replaced.

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What is the normal water pressure in the City?

 

Water pressure in the City ranges from 30 to 145 pounds per square inch (PSI), depending on the location. If the water main that serves you has a pressure greater than 80 PSI, you should install a pressure-reducing valve seat at 80 set at 80 PSI or less to protect your plumbing.

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What are the normal flow rates from a water service?

 

Most water services provide about 20 gallons of water per minute. However, the flow rates from faucets can vary significantly. Bathtub faucets and outside hose spigots usually have flow rates of 7 to 10 gallons per minute. Kitchen and bathroom faucets, showers and toilets usually have flow rates of about 3 gallons per minute. If you are concerned about your water pressure or flow rates, check to see if you have galvanized iron plumbing, or if the pipe that connects you to the City’s water line is galvanized iron. Over time, galvanized iron pipe corrodes on the inside and the rust can cause blockages that restrict the flow of water. If you have pressure or flow problems and your plumbing and service line are copper or plastic, call us at 425-257-8821.

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Who do I call if I have a sewer or drainage problem?

 

If your sewer is backed up or there is water running from a City street, alley, or right-of-way that is affecting your property, it may indicate a broken water line, drain line or sewer line. To find out if the City can help with your particular situation, call us at

425-257-8821.

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Who do I call if I have an emergency after normal business hours?

 

The City maintains a 24-hour hotline for your convenience. If you have a water, sewer, or drainage emergency after normal business hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm),

call 425-257-8821.

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Who should I call if I need my water shut off?

 

If you have a leak, or need to turn off your water for projects or repairs, there should be a shut-off valve on your plumbing system. If you cannot locate this valve, or don’t have one, you can borrow a water shut-off key from the City and turn the Water off at the meter valve (normally at your property line). Call Utility Services at 425-257-8999 for more information on shut-off keys.

 

The City will also shut off your water for a fee. During normal business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, the charge is $52 if you live inside the City and $65 if you live outside the City. After normal business hours, the charge is $128 if you live inside the City and $160 if you live outside of the City. For more information on having your water shut off, call 425-257-8821.

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What is the pink and black stuff that forms on moist surfaces?

 

Water experts believe the pink growth is caused by a bacterium and the black growth is caused by a fungus and bacterium that grow together. These organisms are not in the water system but thrive in moist conditions where fatty substances from soap, toothpaste, food, dust, feces and other tings can collect. They are not a cause for alarm.

 

Neither growth is known to be infective or harmful to people with normal immune systems. However, people with compromised immune systems, such as those with AIDS, those taking immune suppressing drugs, and those undergoing chemo or radiation therapy, should consult their health care provider to determine the potential health risks. Frequent cleaning of surfaces with a strong chlorine bleach solution is the best way to control the growth of these organisms.

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Contact Info:

24-hour Emergency Number
(425) 257-8821

City of Everett Public Works Dept.

3200 Cedar St.,
Everett, WA 98201
T: (425) 257-8800
F: (425) 257-8882
E:
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