Iron and manganese, harmless minerals that occur naturally in well water, can cause discoloration. A malfunctioning water softener may also cause discoloration. In the spring, routine hydrant flushing may stir up deposits within the pipes, resulting in rusty/discolored water. This can be cleared up by turning on all the cold water faucets (including bath and shower) at the same time and letting them run for a few minutes to clear the lines. Discolored water is perfectly safe for consumption and bathing. You should avoid doing laundry until the discoloration clears up. If you have a load that was washed during the discoloration, do not put it in the dryer. You should rewash the items as soon as possible after you have flushed your faucets.
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All hydrants are flushed in the spring to ensure that water lines are working properly, and to remove iron deposits from the lines. Hydrant flushing occurs after the first street sweeping operation in order to minimize the amount of winter salt and sand that is washed into the storm sewer system. During flushing, it is normal to notice a temporary drop in water pressure and some water discoloration. Please see the water discoloration FAQ for more information.