Discolored water can often occur during prolonged periods of high temperatures and demands on the water distribution system. Similar to when hydrants are flushed, the water velocity – or the speed at which water moves through the system – increases during high demand. During typical demand, sediments that are naturally part of the water settle. But when water demand is high, the settling does not occur, and this results in discoloration that some residents may be experiencing. When the demand slows down, the sediment settles and only reappears when demand increases. The discoloration is an aesthetic issue, and there are no health risks associated with discolored water.
Andover conducts a comprehensive flushing program to reduce minerals and deposits in the pipes and improve the quality of the water. This practice not only extends the life of our water mains, but also improves water quality. When flushing is being performed, there may be temporary discoloration in the immediate neighborhoods where flushing is taking place.
What to do if you experience discolored water:
• Run cold water to help flush the system; running an outside spigot, basement sink, or bathtub can help clear the water lines surrounding your home
• Determine if the discoloration is isolated to cold or hot water
• Take note of the time and date that the discoloration was noticed
• If you have experienced discoloration while washing clothing, the Water Department supplies a product that will help remove any discoloration. This product can be picked up at 5 Campanelli Drive from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday.
• If discoloration is still evident, call the Water Division’s Discolored Water line at (978) 623-8707 or send an email to MSDiscoloredWater@andoverma.us. Include your name, address, and the day and time the discolored water occurred in your message.
Information on Discolored Water (PDF)
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Most questions can be answered by reading Andover’s Annual Water Quality Report. The report is issued in the spring of each year and presents data for the previous calendar year to comply with both US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) reporting requirements.
The Town of Andover’s drinking water, which has a total hardness of 40 mg/L as CaCO3, is considered “soft water” according to the ranges set by the USEPA. There is no US EPA drinking water standard for hardness, only set ranges to define the degree of hardness.
By definition, hardness is the total concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. Hard water is not considered a contaminant, but it does retard the cleaning action of soap and can form a scale on cooking utensils, hot water pipes, and heaters. Soft water may have corrosive tendencies; however, the pH of Andover’s drinking water is adjusted before leaving the water treatment plant making it non-corrosive and non-scale forming.
Andover’s drinking water source includes Haggetts Pond and the surrounding 1442 acres of watershed area. The pond is supplemented with additional waters from Fish Brook and the Merrimack River.
The Town of Andover operates a municipal drinking water treatment facility. For more information on the treatment process, please view the virtual tour of the plant.
The laboratory is limited in the parameters that can be tested for town residents. We are not able to provide testing to solve an internal plumbing issue, or to determine what type of filter you should purchase if your plumber has recommended one. Testing cannot be done for well water or businesses, regardless of location.
Should you have specific water quality concerns and you are an Andover Municipal Water Customer, please contact the Chemist via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your name, address, phone number, and your questions.
After the laboratory chemist has spoken with you, if testing is warranted, arrangements will be made for you to pick up sample collection bottles and sampling instructions.
Samples must be returned to the laboratory for analysis, within 24 hours of sample collection, along with a completed Chain of Custody. We will only accept samples that have been collected in the sample bottles supplied by our lab.
Tests are done as a courtesy and at no charge to residents, and analysis is performed using in-house instrumentation. We are not certified for the majority of analyses.
There is a minimum two-week turn-around time from the time samples are delivered to the laboratory and a report is issued.
Residents that are known to have a partial or full lead water service line may request analysis for lead and copper in their water. Testing for these analytes requires specific sampling containers and instructions. It may take up to four weeks for sample results to be reported to you.
There are many laboratories in the region that may be able to provide you with water quality testing resources. We advise that you use a MADEP certified laboratory that will accept residential samples. Please view our document, Certified Laboratories for Homeowner Testing for a list of certified laboratories.