March 21, 2012
Fire hydrant flow tests may cause brown, but safe, water Thursday
Recently, the Division of Facilities announced that water pressure will be tested at fire hydrants across the campus. Facilities planning assures that the water will not be turned off at any time. There may be momentary pressure reductions to a building, but the pressure will come back within minutes.
This activity might cause discolored domestic water in some of our buildings. A number of calls have been received at the Division of Public Safety questioning the safety of drinking this discolored water.
The discoloration is caused by materials dislodged from the sides of the pipes by the sudden changes in water pressure. The water is colored brown by the iron oxide (rust) dislodged in the process of releasing water at the hydrants. This may be most notable in our older buildings.
The department of environmental health and safety has responded to many discolored water incidents on campus over the years. Fortunately, the water has always tested as microbiologically safe. The brown water may have an off flavor that is not acceptable to you. It is not unhealthy to consume the water. However, rather than drink the water, let the water run until the coloration clears.