Water Quality FAQ
All the drains, traps and pipes that carry wastewater out of your house require maintenance, just like your furnace requires service and your car requires oil changes. When water goes down the drain--whether it is in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry--it first passes through the S-shaped pipe under the sink called the "P-trap" (why it's called a P-trap when it's shaped like an S is a mystery). The downward facing loop in the P-trap contains a small amount of water to prevent odors backing up into your drains. The pipe then runs to the main waste line out of the house.
As long as things are running smoothly there will be no problems or odors.
What makes the system not run smoothly?
Buildup... greasy, soapy, oily buildup.
What causes buildup?
Bathing, laundry and dishwashing all cause buildup. Using a garbage disposal especially contributes to buildup. If you participate in any of these activities (as we all do every day), chances are you have buildup happening right now in your drains and pipes. Buildup will slow the water flow and eventually block the line, causing backup and requiring servicing. It will also be a breeding ground for odors and disease-causing germs.
Also, if a sink has not been used for a while the p-trap can become dry because of evaporation allowing odors to get back up the drain. Running water down sinks periodically keeps the P-trap and water barrier full.
There are numerous bacteria, fungi and other organisms in the environment that find their way onto bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Most are not pathogenic (disease causing). They are found in soil, food and on animals, and they may become airborne. Some thrive on moisture and need little else to grow. They may be noticed at the water line in toilet bowls or toilet tanks, on faucets, in sinks or on shower tiles. They sometimes appear jellylike and are gray, black or even pink in color. The pink colored one is interesting and often gets the attention of the customer. This is the bacteria serratia marcescens and is from the environment not the water supply.
Room or whole-house humidifiers can be the source of airborne bacteria. Regular cleaning, periodic disinfection with household bleach or cleaner and adequate ventilation are necessary to control these organisms.
Water that customers usually refer to as 'muddy' may look like mud, but is actually rust or iron oxides. Some of the Marietta water distribution system is cast iron and ductile iron pipes. When water stands still in public water mains or in a customer's galvanized service line or internal plumbing, it may naturally dissolve the iron. If you have rusty water when you first use it in the morning, the cause is probably from your inside plumbing or service line. If your water suddenly becomes rusty, it may be caused by fire hydrant flushing, construction in the area or fire hydrant use in the area. This is usually temporary and may clear on its own or by having water department personnel flush the line. Water discolored from rust has no health significance. Although it is safe to drink, it is understandable that people will find it aesthetically unappealing.
Our flushing program takes care of this problem in a few minutes, but can also create some problems for you, our customer. If you are running water when we are flushing, you could get some dirty water. If this does happen, you should not run your hot water or do any laundry. Turn on and run your cold water until the dirty water clears out of your pipes, then flush your hot water tank, if necessary, by opening the valve at the bottom of the tank. If you are doing laundry, do not dry these clothes. Washing these items again will normally take care of this problem, but if not, you can contact Marietta Water at 770-794-5230 for help.
We would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Flushing is done to prevent problems and ensure that you have fresh drinking water at all times.
Often, when you purchase a new dishwasher or washing machine, the manufacturer has recommended settings that depend on the hardness of the water.
Water in our service area is moderately soft. It ranges from one to two grains per gallon.
Cloudy, milky appearance
Cloudy/milky water is usually caused by tiny air bubbles in the water. Take a glass of cold water from the tap and set it on a flat surface. If the water begins to clear from the bottom up within a few minutes, it can be concluded that dissolved air is the cause of the cloudy appearance. The air bubbles are moving to the top of the container to escape into the open atmosphere.
Our water meets all quality criteria established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and needs no further treatment. Filters, if used, must be maintained according to manufacturers' instructions to avoid bacterial growth and/or release of contaminants.
Lead and copper
Lead and copper may be found in household plumbing fixtures such as service lines, pipes, solders and fluxes, and brass and bronze fixtures. Lead is found throughout the environment in the air, soil, water and household dust, and in consumer products such as food, lead-based paint, pottery porcelain and pewter. Lead and copper enter drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away of materials containing these metals. Lead can pose a significant risk to your health if too much of it enters your body. The greatest risk is to small children and pregnant women.
How can I reduce lead in drinking water at home?
Flush your pipes before drinking, and only use cold water for drinking, cooking and especially for making baby formula. Hot water from a water heater may contain impurities that should not be ingested. Some of these impurities might be metals from household plumbing that dissolve more rapidly in hot water and are concentrated in the heating process.
Anytime the water in a particular faucet has not been used for several hours, "flush" your cold-water pipes by running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get. (This could take as little as five to 30 seconds if there has been recent heavy water use such as showering or toilet flushing. Otherwise, it could take two minutes or longer.) The more time water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain.
You should also remove and clean the aerators on all of your faucets on a regular basis. This could reduce high lead levels because of lead solder being caught in the screen.