Water Discoloration and Cloudiness

If your water appears to be discolored, we may be flushing hydrants or repairing a water main in your neighborhood. This problem can typically be solved by running your faucet on cold at the lowest point of the house until the water runs clear, which may take 10-15 minutes. If your water doesn't clear the first time, wait a few minutes and repeat this process. You should also remember to avoid washing clothes until the water clears. If your water still does not clear after taking these steps, please call PWSA 24/7 Emergency Dispatch at 412-255-2423

Discoloration from Hydrant Flushing

Hydrant flushing is a normal maintenance process that allows us to test our hydrants to make sure that a proper amount of flow and pressure is available for fire fighting. At the same time, hydrant flushing also can improve water quality. This is because mineral and sediment buildups are removed from water mains when a hydrant is flushed, which may cause discoloration.

Discoloration from Water Main Break Repairs

Customers impacted by a water main break may experience discoloration due to increased airflow into their pipes and stirring of sediment buildups in the main. Water main breaks are more likely to occur in the winter when large changes in temperature occur. Freezing and thawing soil creates movement in the ground which can cause a break due to bending or shifting of pipes. However, water main breaks can happen during any season because when pressure gets too high for a pipe to contain, it may rupture. Many of our water mains are over 80 years old and are vulnerable to breaks, but we are renewing our water system by replacing 15 to 20 miles of water mains per year.

Discoloration Due to “Cloudy” Water

A glass of cloudy water versus clear water

During the winter months, water that comes out of your tap can sometimes appear to be “cloudy.” This discoloration is usually caused by harmless air bubbles because cold water simply holds more air than warm water. Also, water out of a faucet holds more air since it is under pressure. If you let the water settle for a few minutes, the air bubbles will no longer be visible.