BROWN WATER? What to do if it happens to you

A couple times this week, we’ve heard from West Seattleites with discolored (“brown”) tap water. First Gatewood, today Arbor Heights (thanks for the report, and for the photo above). The potential causes are numerous; no water breaks in either case so far as we have heard, so we thought we would remind you of what to do if it happens to you – First thing, call Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800. Usually it’ll turn out to be something simple like firefighters testing hydrants in your area. Here’s what you’ll usually be asked to do – but don’t wait to report it, even if you do suspect it’s something routine – SPU has told us over and over again that they want to know.

3 Replies to "BROWN WATER? What to do if it happens to you"

  • Kyla May 19, 2017 (3:45 pm)

    Thanks for this! We had trouble with it last night (South Park) and wondered what it was or if we would be buying a new hot water heater this weekend…

  • AmyC May 19, 2017 (9:54 pm)

    In AH today it was definitely hydrant testing. We saw the fireman walking down 107th and then testing the hydrant at 35th and 107th.

  • annander May 20, 2017 (8:25 pm)

    This happened to us last month. Hot water (only) came out brown.  Ran it for over 5 min and did not clear up.  Drained the hot water heater and it was clear again by next morning. Note: if you do this, don’t forget to turn power off first!

    They had been replacing pipes next door  – and as described, the increased pressure created from changing them out stirred things up all along the line.  Sure beats getting a new water heater when not needed. 

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