Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan reports that Andover officials are actively monitoring the issue causing discoloration in tap water, and stresses that there is no risk to public health.
Over the past two weeks, the Town of Andover has received a number of calls from community members reporting discolored water.
The cause is due to a sharp increase in local water use. Officials have noted a 20 percent increase in pumping from the Water Treatment Plant for July 2018 compared to July 2017.
The town deploys a comprehensive unidirectional flushing program for the purpose of mitigating discolored water. However, this year’s significant increase in usage over July of 2017 has resulted in an extended period of discoloration.
During peak demand times, typically mornings, significant amounts of water are being drawn from town tanks to residences and businesses. Simultaneously, the Water Treatment Plant is pumping water in order to refill the tanks, meaning the distribution system is seeing a very large volume of water go through it at once.
Similar to when fire hydrants are flushed, the water velocity increases during peak demand, which causes sediment in the bottom of the water mains to become suspended. This results in the discoloration residents are seeing in their taps. When the velocity slows down, the sediment settles, only reappearing during the next high demand period.
To help better address the issue, all calls are being logged at the Water Treatment Plant for tracking. Officials are seeing a trend of discolored water in the mornings, with clear tap water reported by the afternoon. If your water continues to be discolored in the afternoon, please contact the Water Department in order to further diagnose the issue.
"We understand this can be frustrating for residents and business owners, but we want to stress that there is no risk to public health," Town Manager Flanagan said. "We appreciate community members' patience as we work to offset the impacts of the increase in water usage."
Community members who experience discolored water should: