FAQ

Brown Water?

My water is sometimes brown in color. Is it harmful for me to drink?

While unappealing, the brown water is not harmful to human health. A brown tinge to your water likely means that sediments lodged within pipes have broken loose.

What causes tap water to be brown?

Too much iron and/or manganese in water can caused it to turn brown. Rust from older pipes can also cause water to appear brown.

 How does iron and/or rust get into the water supply?

Iron occurs naturally in soil, so it is not uncommon for it to get into your water supply line. Rust is loosened from the inner walls of older pipes when water pressure changes. These changes occur when the water supply is turned on and off or when new construction occurs.

What is being done to address the brown water in the water system?

Hattiesburg officials are developing a city-wide plan to replace older, rusted pipes.

Is it ok to use brown water?

While brown water may not be directly harmful to your health, there are potential and unpleasant side effects. For example, rust tastes strange in your drinking water. If brown, rusty water is used in hot or cold beverages or in alcoholic drinks, it usually turns them black and gives off an unpleasant smell. If you use brown water for cooking, it usually turns food items (especially vegetables) dark and makes them look undesirable. Iron in water will stain your laundry and washing machine. It also leaves a colored residue on hair.

How do I get rid of brown water?

To eliminate brown water, you must first find the actual cause. If only your water heater produces brown water, then the most likely cause is a damaged hot water heater. If brown water is coming from all of your faucets, it may have been caused by a change in water pressure within the pipes. Try turning on an outside faucet and let it run for about 10 minutes to flush out your pipes.

How can I prevent brown water from recurring?

An iron filter or water softener installed at the point where water enters your house is probably the easiest way to prevent recurrence, especially if your water is supplied by an underground source.

Who can I call if I have more questions?

You may call the Hattiesburg Water & Sewer Department at 601.545.4530. Here is a list of other helpful numbers:

  • Billing Inquiries, Turn-Ons, Cut-Offs – 601.545.4634
  • Request for Services – 601.545.4500
  • After Hours Problems – 601.545.4635

Where does wastewater come from?

  • Wastewater comes from us. It is used water that comes from our sinks, toilets, and washing machines. It is also generated by small businesses, industry and other facilities. It flows through our community’s sanitary sewer system to a wastewater treatment plant that removes pollutants. The clean water is then released back to a local water body.

Can I pour chemicals down my sink drain to dispose of them?

  • No! Our wastewater treatment plant is designed to treat organic materials, not hazardous chemicals such as cleansers, beauty products, medicines, auto fluids, paint, and lawn care products. Also, never flush cooking grease, diapers, condoms, or personal hygiene products. These materials can clog pipes and cause raw sewage to overflow in your home or yard.

How do treatment plants protect our environment?

  • Everything from rags and sticks to sand and small particles can be found in wastewater. The treatment plan removes these items and reduces organic matter and pollutants.
  • Helpful bacteria and other microorganisms are used to consume organic matter in wastewater. The bacteria and microorganisms are then separated from the water.

What are officials doing to ensure our wastewater is properly treated?

  • Careful maintenance of our existing wastewater treatment plant ensures incoming wastewater is properly treated.
  • Prior to being released back into the environment, the water is tested to ensure it meets the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s requirements and is safe and clean.

Why should I be concerned?

  • Your input in decisions about our environment is important! Making sure that our wastewater is properly treated before being released is important to our health and overall quality of life.

I’ve noticed my water/sewer bill has increased. Will it go up again?

  • Yes. Sewer/water rates increased by 5% during the Summer of 2016 in order to pay for increased maintenance costs.
  • A 5% increase per year is expected through 2019.

chart-water-sewer-rate-increase

Who can I call if I have more questions?

  • You may call the Hattiesburg Water & Sewer Department at 601.545.4530. Here is a list of other helpful numbers:
  • Billing Inquiries, Turn-Ons, Cut-Offs – 601.545.4634
  • Request for Services – 601.545.4500
  • After Hours Problems – 601.545.4635