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Frequently Asked Questions


1.    Is my tap water safe to drink? 

Your tap water is very safe to drink. In fact, “tap water from public water systems in the U.S. and Canada are among the safest in the world.” (AWWA Plain Talk About Tap Water) Henry County PSA Upper Smith River water system meets all U.S. EPA Safe Drinking Water Act plus the VA Department of Health Regulations. The EPA makes sure that the operators that handle your water are providing you with the best quality of water possible.  There are many tests that are done around the clock to make sure that every drop of water is as clean as the one before it and the one after it.

 2.    My water tastes “funny” or “weird” what causes that? 

Taste and odor issues can be caused by several different things:         

Chlorine:  Your water may taste and smell like chlorine.  A small amount of Chlorine is added to the water to kill the bacteria and viruses that could potentially be in the water so you won’t get sick.  The EPA makes sure that the operators don’t add a harmful amount to your water. They just add enough to kill the disease causing organisms or (bad stuff) in your water. 

Rotten-Egg Smell:  Your water may smell like a rotten-egg.  This smell is caused by Hydrogen Sulfide that dissolved in the water.  If you have a well, you may have this problem. 

Earthy, Musty Smell:  This is caused by harmless algae, bacteria, and fungi that can grow in water giving off their smell once they have grown. (The addition of chlorine also helps to aid in control of this) 

Metallic Taste:  Your water can taste this way due to copper that has dissolved in the water if you have copper pipes, or from iron that has dissolved from iron pipes. 

Sewer Smell:  Sometimes your sink drain can give off an odor that appears to come from the tap water when water is running. 

Flat-Tasting:  Your water can taste “flat” if it doesn’t have enough oxygen or minerals in it. 

3.     How do I get the “funny” taste to go away? 

There are a few ways to get rid of your water’s taste issues: 

For chlorine taste removal, allow water to sit out in a glass pitcher overnight, and most of the chlorine will dissipate. 

Store your water in a closed glass container in the fridge.  When the water is cold, it has less taste than warm water. 

If your water is flat-tasting, pour it back and forth between 2 clean containers. This will add oxygen back into the water. 

Also you can add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice to refrigerated water. 

4.    Is fluoride safe to have in my water? 

Yes, a harmless level of fluoride is added to your water to help with oral health. Fluoride has caused a huge decrease in cavities and tooth loss. 

5.    My sink has a blue-green stain where my water drips. What causes that? 

This stain comes from copper.  It can leak into your home plumbing and dissolve in the tap water. 

6.    What is the pink stain in my bathrooms? 

This is caused by an airborne bacterium called Serattia. This has nothing to do with the quality of your tap water. 

7.    What causes the black ring in my toilet bowl? 

This ring is caused by the growth of fungi from airborne spores.  Again, this is not an issue with the quality of your water.

8.    What is the greenish stain in my bathtub? 

This is caused by copper leaching into the water from the copper pipes in your home. 

9.    Is the water in a water fountain safe to drink? 

Yes. The water in the fountain is the same tap water that you get at home.  Just because it is in a water fountain, doesn’t mean that the quality of the water is different. There are a few exceptions to this, if the water fountain isn’t used very frequently, the water can get aged and may have a taste issue. Or if the water fountain is very old, (manufactured before 1980) it may have issues with lead. 

10.  How do I get more information? 

EPA Water Site

 

Scenarios

White Flakes:  Sometimes there can be a buildup of Calcium in faucets that looks like white flakes.  This is harmless. All you have to do is unscrew the faucet heat, and dump it in the trashcan.  A plumber would charge you around $100 to do the same thing. It’s a matter of paying someone to do it, or doing it yourself for free. 

Cloudy Water:  If you turn on the faucet and notice the water looks cloudy, this is most likely caused by air bubbles. It can also be caused by calcium. You can let the water run for a few minutes and let the water temperature stabilize and the cloudiness will go away. 

Pink Stain or Black Ring in the toilet:  If you notice these stains in your bathroom, they are very common. These issues can be dealt with by some cleaning supplies; Clorox, Lysol, etc. This isn’t an issue with your water or water quality. If you called the PSA to come look at the issue, they would reassure that there isn’t anything wrong with your water quality and that a little cleaning would do the trick. 

Greenish stain in bathtub or sink:  If you see this stain, it is caused by copper leaching into the water.  You can let the water run for a few minutes to flush the pipes before you use the water. Also, good cleaning products should take the stains right off. If you call the PSA, they will come check for the levels of copper in the water.