High Demand and Wildfire Cause Discolored Water in Valley Springs

Some CCWD Customers in Rancho Calaveras and La Contenta experienced discolored water on June 1. First and foremost, all customers should know that the water is completely safe to drink and poses no threat to the public health. The water is discolored due to a build-up of minerals being dislodged from the inner pipe walls when the velocity of water was quickly increased, due to two major factors.

Why did this happen?

First, temperatures nearing 100 degrees caused water demand to skyrocket over the past few days, which caused a secondary booster pump to kick on in the Rancho Calaveras area. This booster pump doubled the flow of water moving through one of the District’s main transmission lines, which caused the build-up of minerals to be scoured off the inner pipe wall. During normal years, CCWD flushes its entire water delivery system annually to remove this mineral build up. However, due to the drought, the State Water Board has not allowed flushing for the past two years. This led to a significant increase in mineral buildup and made this discolored water event much more noticeable. The line that was impacted by increased flow is also undersized for the service area. The District has recognized this problem and added a project to its Capital Renovation and Replacement Program to replace this line with a bigger pipe. The project is called Jenny Lind A to B Transmission Line.

Secondly, there was a wildfire near New Hogan Reservoir in the La Contenta area today. When firefighters accessed CCWD’s hydrants to fight fire, the hydrants were opened up quickly. When a hydrant is opened quickly, it causes water in the line to rapidly increase in velocity and that leads to scouring of the inside of the pipes. That scouring dislodges minerals that have built up inside the line and leads to discolored water events. Since this is the beginning of fire season, this is likely to happen again when firefighters access CCWD hydrants throughout the summer and fall.

What to do about discoloredwater?

If you live in the affected area, you may experience brown-colored water. Even if the water is discolored, it is completely safe to drink. If you would like to flush your system of discolored water, turn on an outside faucet at the lowest point on your property and let it run until the water turns clear. CCWD encourages customers to capture the flushed water for later use on trees, shrubs or other landscaping. CCWD crews are doing their best to flush the system but it may take some time until the water color returns to normal.

Those with questions or concerns may call CCWD Customer Service at (209) 754-3543 or email customerservice@ccwd.org.

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