Naturally Occurring Manganese Blamed for Yellow Water in Area

Posted in: United States Water News, Water Contamination
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Article courtesy of Max Smith | July 11, 2015 | wtop | Shared as educational material

WASHINGTON — All of the recent rain in the D.C. area has led to some tap water becoming strange colors.

Stafford County says in a statement that the reason people living south Stafford who have seen yellow-tinged water in their homes this week do not need to worry.

The county says the color is due to “naturally-occurring manganese” in the Lake Mooney Reservoir. The manganese levels have increased because the recent rain mixes up the lake water, disturbing the deposits that normally sit away from water intake valves.

The county says there is no need to boil the water before use, because it is safe to drink as it is. The only recommendation is to avoid using bleach while doing the laundry because the chemical reaction with the higher levels of manganese can contribute to stains. The county suggests washing dark loads first this weekend, and putting off washing whites as long as possible until tap water is completely clear.

The county has tweaked the system, and worked to flush it out, so that the color goes back to normal.

Stafford County says the water is already clear in areas like Enon Road and Stafford High School. By Saturday night, the county expects only homes and businesses at the very end of water lines to still be seeing yellowish water.

Separately, the Town of Purcellville found E. Coli in parts of its water system this week. The town says the bacteria was found in a well that has now been taken offline, and in a separate sample from Emerick Elementary School.

The test at the school came back Thursday, following an emergency water line repair. Follow up tests right around the school found no other issues, but tests from the town’s seven wells turned up signs of E. coli in the untreated water from one well.

The town says the Hirst Farm Well has now been taken offline, but the source of potential contamination has not yet been identified. The town’s six other wells are working as usual.

Purcellville says tests did not find any issues with water that had gone through the treatment and disinfection used before it is distributed to customers. The town is not recommending that any of the town’s water system customers change how they are using the water.

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