Water Quality Concerns
Water Resources Administrator
Lead Laboratory Analyst
Water Quality Concerns
Water Quality Testing
Did you know that more than 59,000 analyses are run on Northglenn's water each year?
The city has a state-certified laboratory that analyzes your water on a daily basis. Many tests are run on our water to ensure that its quality will meet the regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Water samples are collected from rivers, canals and lakes that feed our water system all the way through the treatment process and out to your home. Approximately 200 tests are done each day to check for heavy metals, bacteria, fluoride, water hardness, alkalinity, pH, nitrates, phosphorous, herbicides, pesticides, radiological testing, chlorine, organic testing and many others.
White Color or White Particles in Water
This seems to happen more often in winter when the drinking water is colder, but may also happen if you have an aerator attached to your faucet. There is no cause for alarm. Tiny air bubbles in the water cause the milky or cloudy appearance. If the water is left to stand for a short while, the bubbles will rise to the surface and disappear.
If the white color does not clear, you could have mineral buildup in your hot water heater. Try flushing your hot water heater. If white particles float, you probably have a deteriorating dip tube in your hot water heater.
Rusty, Brown, Yellow or Orange Colored Water
Rusty water is usually caused by high iron and manganese. This commonly occurs after a fire hydrant has been opened. Sediment that has built up in the pipe is dislodged and flushed into the system. While it is not harmful, it may give the water a metallic taste and could discolor clothes run through the washing machine. The fastest way to clear your water pipes is to turn on all of the taps at the same time. In about 5 to 10 minutes, the water will run clear.
Water heaters may rust with age, so if your water heater is old and you notice the rusty color when you run hot water, it could be time to replace the water heater. If you take a hot water sample and compare it to the cold, can you see a difference in color? If the answer is yes, the most probable source is the hot water heater.
• Short-term solution: Flush hot water heater
• Long-term solution: Replace hot water heater
Water is Muddy, Sandy or Dirty
City crews may be flushing or repairing the water main in your area. Neighbors may be having the same problems. Flush all the taps for 10 minutes.
Are fixtures getting plugged with sand-like particles? Even in the toilet? The most probable source is water softener zeolite, resin beads, escaping from a water softener into the internal plumbing. This can happen even if the softener is not in use.
Black Color in Water
Check washers inside faucet fixtures. They can break down and ooze black.
Common Taste Concerns
Chlorine taste and odor
Chlorine, a disinfectant, is added to the water in its final treatment stage to kill bacteria and viruses. This is the most efficient and cost-effective method available. The amount used is well below a level that would impact humans, but some people are more sensitive to the taste and odor of chlorine than others and may find it objectionable.
Tip to minimize chlorine taste: Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator for drinking. The colder the water, the less noticeable the taste and odor of chlorine.
Sewer smell or other unpleasant odor
If you are drinking water or brushing your teeth while standing at the sink, sometimes unpleasant odors can rise from the sink drain. This occurs when the p-trap in the drain is dry, becomes clogged or is not vented properly. Here are a few suggestions if you have odors in your sink drain:
In the kitchen:
• Try putting orange or lemon slices in your garbage disposal.
• Pour water with some bleach down the drain.
In the bathroom:
• Try putting baking soda in the drain, and follow by pouring a few cups of boiling water over the baking soda. If the problem reoccurs you may have to do this every few months.
Lake Stratification in September
During the month of September, residents may notice a change in their water’s taste and odor caused by the stratification or the water’s layering by temperature and oxygen in Standley Lake. However, this change is seasonal and by October the differences in the water will be gone.
During the summer, the water in Standley Lake, where the city receives its drinking water, becomes stratified or layered as a result of the hot weather. What happens is the cold water at the bottom of Standley Lake is unable to receive the warm, nutrient and oxygen-rich water from the top of the lake.
The lack of oxygen at the bottom of the lake causes the sediments at the bottom of the lake to release iron, manganese and organic compounds into the water. These compounds can cause drinking water to have a musty or metallic taste and odor, or may cause chlorine used in the treatment process to be more apparent.
To remove this taste and odor from water, place an uncovered container of water in the refrigerator overnight.
These changes are seasonal and will go away after the lake turnover occurs. Lake turnover occurs when colder temperatures and fall breezes cause the warm surface water to cool and mix freely with the cold water from the bottom of the lake, returning the water to a non-stratified condition. On Standley Lake, this occurs every year around Sept. 20.
To address this seasonal occurrence, the Public Works Department will begin construction on improvements to the Water Treatment Plant in late 2011. These improvements will remove additional organic material and manganese from the drinking water, reducing or eliminating the taste and odor that are present during lake turnover season.
Throughout this process, Northglenn’s water is safe to drink and meets all drinking water standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.