Water Quality - Frequently Asked Questions
My tap water sometimes has a funny taste and smell. What's wrong with it? At times, during the summer months of July through October, water can have an unusual taste, odor or appearance. Aesthetic characteristics generally do not pose a public health threat.
Chlorine or chemical tastes or odors are usually caused by the addition of chlorine to the water or the interaction of chlorine with organic matter.
Moldy, musty, earthy tastes or odors are commonly caused by seasonal occurrences when organic matter such as plants or algae are more prevalent in lakes, reservoirs, and the canals that deliver the water to water treatment facilities. These things are removed as the water is treated but harmless residual odors will remain in the water.
What I can do to avoid taste and odor in my tap water? Although harmless, it can affect the taste and smell of your drinking water even at very low concentrations. The best way to reduce taste and odor is to run the faucet for several minutes, put some water in a container, and refrigerate it before drinking.
Is my tap water safe to drink? Yes. We test our drinking water continuously to assure quality. We meet or exceed health based standards for tap water quality.
Does the town fluoridate its drinking water? Yes. We add fluoride to bring the tap water concentration to about 0.7 mg/L. This is considered the optimum level of fluoridation by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Is fluoride in my drinking water safe? Yes. When added or naturally present in the correct amounts, fluoride in drinking water has greatly improved the dental health of consumers and the treated water is safe to drink.
What is water hardness? Water hardness represents total concentration of calcium and magnesium ions, reported as calcium carbonate.
What are the health effects associated with hard water? Hard water is not known to cause any adverse health effect.
What is the conversion factor for mg/L of hardness to grains per gallon of hardness? One grain per gallon of hardness is equivalent to 17.1 mg/L (calcium carbonate equivalent).
How to set your water softener correctly? If you decide to purchase a water softener, you need to set it according to the hardness of the tap water. Average hardness for the town water is between 8-10 grains per gallon and setting your softener between 10-12 grains will work. Also, iron is below detection level.
What are total coliform bacteria? Total coliforms are a group of closely related bacteria that are (with few exceptions) not harmful to humans. They are natural and common inhabitants of the soil and ambient waters (e.g., lakes, rivers, and estuaries), as well as the gastrointestinal tracts of animals.
What is E. coli? Where does it come from? How can water be treated to protect against E. coli? E. coli is short for Escherichia coli.E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans. E. coli comes from human and animal wastes. During rainfalls, snow melts, or other types of precipitation, E. coli may be washed into creeks, rivers, streams, lakes, or groundwater. When these waters are used as sources of drinking water and the water is not treated or inadequately treated, E. coli may end up in drinking water. The water can be treated using chlorine, ultra-violet light, or ozone, all of which act to kill or inactivate E. coli.
How often do you test tap water for total/fecal coliform? Every day we test tap water for presence/absence of coliforms. We also collect 150 samples each month at the representative sites throughout the town distribution system. Town has it's own water quality lab certified through Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), which performs bacteriological analysis of coliform, implementing EPA-approved methods in-house. The absence of total coliforms in the distribution system minimizes the likelihood that fecal pathogens are present. Thus, total coliforms are used to determine the vulnerability of a system to fecal contamination.
Why water is tested for total/fecal coliform only? EPA considers total/fecal coliform as a useful indicators for the pathogens. Presence or absence of total coliforms determine the adequacy of water treatment and integrity of the distribution system.
What can cause the tap water to be cloudy or milky? Cloudy water commonly is caused by air in the water. If the cloudiness does not dissipate when the water is allowed to stand, the cloudiness may be due to some other cause. To help determine the cause(s) of cloudiness of your drinking water, please notify the Water Department at 480-266-6336 or 480-266-6911.
What can cause tap water to taste like salt? High chloride ion concentration can produce a salty taste in tap water.
What can cause tap water to smell like bleach? Chlorine used for disinfection of drinking water may produce a bleach odor in the tap water.
Why some times water coming out of my tap is brown or has sediments in it? This is caused by sediment in the water mains that is disturbed by fire hydrant maintenance or water main line flushing.
What should I do if I turned on a faucet and the water coming out is discolored? Do not be alarmed. Run your faucets for about five minutes to make sure the water is clear. If the water does not clear within a few minutes, please notify the Water Department at 480-266-6336 or 480-266-6911.
What's drinking water quality report? Water suppliers must deliver to their customers annual drinking water quality reports or consumer confidence report (CCR). These reports will tell consumers what contaminants have been detected in their drinking water, how these detection levels compare to drinking water standards, and where their water comes from.
If you have further questions or concerns, please fill out this on-line request for water quality inquiry. You may also call Public Works at 480-503-6400 (Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm) and a customer service representative will be happy to assist you.