Residents in Montgomery and Prince Georges counties have recently complained of discolored water. The WSSC has offered an explanation.
Throughout August, in Montgomery and Prince Georges counties, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
(WSSC) has experienced a sharp rise in monthly complaints, more than 700 residents and businesses reported having discolored water in their homes and workplaces. General Manager Carla A. Reid, Director of Production J.C. Hangley, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Health Services Officer Mark Hodge, and other WSSC water quality experts detailed the recent incidents. As Reid spoke, she assured the company's 1.8 million customers that routine water quality tests performed have indicated that the water is in fact safe.
In a press release
, the WSSC attributed the discolored water to an increase of organic material in the Potomac River which may have been caused by the severe weather the area has experienced lately. Reid apologized, saying that discolored water is “unacceptable.” The WSSC believes that an increase in Manganese, a natural mineral, is the reason behind the water discoloration. Chlorine used to disinfect water also helps to control manganese levels, however the Environmental Protection Agency limits the amount of chlorine that can be used to treat the water. Now, with the presence an increased amount of organic material that comes from vegetation (decayed leaves and tree debris), the WSSC has not been allowed to use higher concentrations of chlorine.
The source of the customers’ drinking water is the Potomac River, WSSC’s Director of Production J.C. Langley says that increased levels of manganese will still be present in the water for a few more weeks until the river conditions return to normal. Once they're normal, the WSSC has promised that it will adjust the levels of chlorine to improve water conditions. On the upside Deputy Health Officer Mike Hodge said that water discoloration and manganese levels in the water are “an aesthetic issue” as opposed to “a public health issue.” Water will be drawn from two other reservoirs located on the Patuxent River.
What are your thoughts on the water discoloration? Are you being affected by this issue? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.