When you turn on the faucet, you want your water to be clear, but several folks around the Triad reported their water being a brown or golden color Tuesday.
The Piedmont Triad Regional Reservoir Authority attributes the discolored water to higher levels of manganese in Randleman Lake Reservoir. They're already working to correct the problem by flushing in water with lower levels of the element. They expect impacted water supplies to return to normal Tuesday evening.
But what exactly is manganese? It's a natural element found in the earth's crust, soil and water. Water plants will test manganese levels everyday.
"Generally speaking manganese is not an issue," explains Joe Johnson, an Environmental Health Manager with the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services. "If it is, it's usually at a low enough level that it is an aesthetics problem."
That's where water will get the golden or brown tint, but despite the looks, it's actually safe to consume.
"Municipal supplies are tested on a daily basis and so if there was a health risk, if they had high enough levels then it would be put out there to the citizens that there was a problem and they would be put on a notice to not drink the water," Johnson says.
The discoloration could impact your clothes, though. The discolored water could stain laundry or your pipes. So if higher levels of manganese ever impact your water supply, you might want to wait on that next load of laundry.
If you want to avoid manganese in the water all together, you can always invest in a water filter or water softener. Both will work to rid water of certain minerals, but the systems could cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000.
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