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Water Quality

Water Quality

We take the quality of water that we deliver very seriously. We are in compliance with industry standards for the construction, operation, and maintenance of our domestic water system and abide by all Federal and State regulations. Required monitoring and testing of the water is done on a fixed schedule. Water samples are taken at multiple locations around the system each month and sent to a State-certified lab in Montrose for analysis. A history of these sample results is charted and any deviation from expected results is immediately investigated by Tri-County personnel. Project 7 Water Authority, located east of Montrose, treats and delivers water for the majority of the domestic water purveyors in the Uncompahgre Valley for distribution to their customers. Any specific questions about water treatment should be directed to Project 7.

Some of the common water quality complaints we receive are listed below.

White or cloudy water

Drinking water can sometimes appear ‘milky’ or ‘cloudy’ when first drawn from the tap. This is usually caused by air and generally disappears after a short time.

If your water is white, milky, or cloudy fill a glass with water and leave it to stand for a few minutes.  If the cloudiness clears from the bottom of the glass upwards, this shows the cloudy appearance has been caused by air.  The tiny air bubbles will rise to the surface and the cloudy appearance will disappear. If the water does not clear in this way please contact us.  The effect can be seen in the image below.

Glasses with varying levels of a liquid, transitioning from cloudy to clear.
Cloudy water caused by tiny air bubbles in the water is not harmful to health

Pink Stains

Pink residue or stains on household fixtures are generally not caused by the water delivered to your home.  In fact, the pink residue is likely a result of airborne bacteria, which produce a pinkish or dark gray film on regularly moist surfaces such as toilet bowls, showerheads, sink drains, and tiles. Some people have also noted that the pink residue appears in their pet's water bowl.
Many experts agree that the bacteria that causes these pink stains is most likely Serratia marcesens, a bacteria that is found naturally in soil, food, and animals.  Serratia, which produce a characteristic red pigment, thrive on moisture, dust, and phosphates and need almost nothing to survive. The pinkish film often appears during or after construction or remodeling, when dust and dirt containing Serratia bacteria are stirred up. Once the bacteria is airborne, it will seek a moist location in which it can grow. Some people have reported that the pink residue only appears during certain times of the year when their windows are left open for most of the day.  Wind can carry the airborne bacteria or stir up dust in which the bacteria are present.
The use of activated carbon filters, which remove chlorine from the water, can make the problem worse.  The absence of the normal levels of chlorine in tap water allows Serratia to thrive.

How do I get rid of pink residue?

The best solution to this problem is to continually clean the involved surfaces to keep them free from bacteria. Compounds containing chlorine work best, but keep in mind that abrasive cleaners may scratch fixtures, making them more susceptible to bacterial growth.
Chlorine bleach can be used periodically to disinfect the toilet and help to eliminate the occurrence of the pink residue. An easy way to do this is to add three to five tablespoons of fresh bleach to the toilet tank, flush the toilet to allow the bowl to be disinfected, and add another dose of bleach to the tank as it is refilling.  The use of toilet "cakes" containing disinfectant can help keep the problem under control.  By keeping bathtubs and sinks wiped down and dry, the formation of pink residue can be easily managed.

Taste Issues

The sense of taste can vary greatly from person to person. Determining a definite cause can be difficult.  In our region we are fortunate to have high quality raw water directly from high-elevation snow melt.  However, there may be times when you notice that the water tastes 'different'.  One possible cause is water line replacements.  During such upgrades, we will install new PVC waterlines.  New lines are disinfected and flushed before being put into service but you may still notice a 'plastic' taste. This is an unfortunate side effect of our efforts to maintain the reliability of the water distribution system but the taste will quickly subside as water is used. Naturally, the more customers using water from a new line, the faster the taste will subside.  Some taste issues can result from plumbing or fixture modifications at the customer's site such as water heater replacements or a new fixture requiring modifications to the existing supply lines.   Of course, if the taste issues persist, feel free to contact us and we will try to assist in determining what the cause may be.


Additional Information

Check out these websites for more information on drinking water quality.

The AWWA Meter to Tap informational brochure (pdf)

The EPA site on various drinking water topics