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Discolored Water

During water main breaks or main flushing, water may become discolored due to the disturbance of iron and manganese sediments (from the well water and pipe materials.)  Iron and manganese pose significant aesthetic issues, such as unsightly water, staining to porcelain, laundry, and fixtures, and a metallic taste to the water. We have a product available to help remove stains from clothing, dishes, appliances, or other items.  You may stop by the office between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm Monday–Friday to pick some up, free of charge.

Sediment buildup in the distribution system is an ongoing problem, and not unique to unfiltered groundwater supplies such as Acton’s.  In prior years this situation has been successfully dealt with through an aggressive program of water main flushing.  This form of remediation can only be conducted during warm weather periods, since ice buildup on Acton’s roadways due to water runoff would be hazardous to public safety.

Some iron and manganese sediment can be filtered out. There has been a lot of discussion involving filters and their effectiveness.  We encourage all customers to do their research prior to buying or having a filter installed.  For your convenience this link below will bring you to website, so that you can search the web and learn more about the pros and cons of point of entry and point of use (POE/POU) water filters.

Response to Questions Related to Home Filtration Guidelines

The Acton Water District cannot endorse specific filtration products or guarantee performance, but the following list is provided to assist homeowners who are considering the installation of a home filtration system.

  1. Systems designed to protect the entire house (POE) may prevent sediment from entering the hot water or steam heating system. There are also under the sink or shower installations (POU) which filter water in only one location.
  2. The filtration system should include bypass segments and/or shut off valves to allow the filter housing to be opened to change the filter.  The condition of the filter is easier to assess if the filter housing is transparent.  A noticeable reduction in water pressure is an indication that the filter is becoming clogged.  Discoloration, or the presence of increased sediment downstream of the filter may also be an indication of the need to change the filter cartridge.
  3. Most filtration systems use standard size filters that can be purchased from a variety of sources.  Home filters are designed for a wide variety of applications, and the choice of the filter pore size is important. Filters having a larger pore size are often labeled as sediment filters.  We note that much of iron and manganese is dissolved, or in very fine particulate form, and a smaller pore size would be needed to capture this fraction.
  4. A few precautions must be followed to avoid problems.  Home filtration systems are designed to be inserted in the cold water supply.  Please follow the manufactures recommendations and specifications when installing any system, or consult a licensed plumber.        
  5. A water filter cartridge must be replaced occasionally, or removed when not in use.
  6. A licensed plumber can install and assist in the selection of a suitable filtration system.  Such filters and filter housings are available in hardware and plumbing supply outlets.  Technical specifications and installation instructions are available from websites operated by the manufacturers.
  7. Homeowners should be aware that the installation of a home filtration system will not solve all water quality issues.  Filters will be effective only in removing the materials for which they are designed.  Ensuring their optimal performance will require regular maintenance.