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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my water brown?
Brown water is usually an indication of rust dissolved in the water.  Rust can be drawn into the distribution by changes in flow or water main breaks.  Generally these episodes will clear if a cold water tap runs for a few minutes.  If the discoloration doesn't clear contact the Water Treatment Plant at 1-978-858-0345  for further instructions. 
When experiencing brown water refrain from doing laundry.   DO NOT use bleach since it will interact with the rust and cause staining.

Why is my water white?
Cloudiness or white water is indicative of air dissolved in the water.  To test this theory fill a glass with water from affected tap and watch to see if the cloudiness dissipates.  Generally when breaks occur, water mains must be shut off. During the opening and closing of valves, air can be introduced into the distribution which causes the water to appear cloudy.  This air will make its way out of the water in time.  If the cloudiness persists there may be a plumbing issue within the household.  Call the Water Treatment Plant at 1-978-858-0345 for further information.


What are these stains on my fixtures?
Frequently, iron and manganese which is found in almost all water distributions may cause staining in toilets or sinks.  Often times the bleach products we use to clean our toilet bowls will cause the small amount of iron and manganese that is dissolved in the water to "fall out" of solution or become deposited on the surface of the bowl.  As more water flushes by, the deposit builds until it becomes a stain.  The best method of minimizing stains is by scrubbing it away, however, be careful to not scratch the surface.  Scratches make for the perfect environment for particles to embed and further exasperate the problem.  For heavy duty scaling, try a Lime-Away type product or a non bleach cleanser.
Pink staining is a form of a biofilm which can be a nuisance as well.  These stains generally show up when water lies in the presence of soap.  The tiny bacteria that causes the stain, feeds on soap scum.  The best preventative action to take, if you experience this type of staining, is to rinse and wipe down walls of the showers and/or sinks.

Why is my water banging in my pipes? 
Often times banging occurs when the flow of air and water are not appropriately mixed.  This may indicate the need for a plumber.

Is our water hard?
Our water is considered soft.  We generally maintain a 1-2 grains of hardness in our finished water.  This means that less soap is needed to do things like washing our hair, cleaning our clothes, and running our dishwashers.
Consult your dishwasher manuals to be sure just how much detergent is necessary to wash your dishes.  You will be pleased to find you will probably need to use half of the detergent that will fit in the reservoir since dishwashers are made universally for all types of water.  You may be wasting money and etching glasses by using too much detergent.

Why does my water smell?
To determine the cause of odor, fill a clean glass (smell it first to be sure it isn't the source) and walk away from the tap.  Is the smell still there?

Does the water smell like a pool?
If so, you may be sensitive to the bleach we add to the water to keep it safe.  As a preventative action bleach is added to our finish water (a tiny amount, less than 1 part per million), but this nearly diminimous amount ensures bacteria doesn not grow in the water as it travels to you through the pipes.

Does it smell musty?
During seasonal variations in our Water Treatment Plant's source water, we may get an increase in naturally occurring organisms that cause taste and odor problems.  Although they are unpleasant to our noses, they are harmless.
If the water you draw from the tap smells, but does not smell when you fill a glass and walk away from the faucet, the problem may be the sink.
Often times odors related to garbage disposals or "u traps" are the culprit.  Food particles caught in the disposal will rot and give off odors.  Also dishwashers may be a cause of odor since they are plumbed in line with a sink and could be depositing food particles.  If you suspect either to be the cause, an easy and efficient way to cleaning the disposal is to pour 1/2 cup of bleach (residents with septic tanks should not use bleach), vinegar, or baking soda with a couple of ice cubes.  Run cold water and the disposal.  This will dislodge and flush away any food particles. 
If you suspect the dishwasher as the problem check by keeping the door to the dishwasher closed, smell the sink drain then open the dishwasher and smell inside of it.  If the dishwasher is the source try doing a rinse cycle without dishes.  Also be sure to scrap and/or rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher or run more frequently to minimize the chance of food particles rotting.

Why don't my clothes smell clean? 
Check your clothes washer manual. 

Are you using the appropriate amount of detergent for 1-2 grains of hardness? Try using 1/2 of the recommended dosage of detergent.

Are you properly rinsing out all the soap? Try doing an extra rinse cycle. Since most newer machines are more energy efficient they use less water as well. Sometimes an excess of soap makes matters worse since some air born bacteria loves soap scum. 

Does the washer smell when you open it even when there isn't anything in it?
You could have a problem with drainage or your trap.
Try running a bleach load in an empty machine to see if the smell disappears.
If nothing helps, call the Water Treatment Plant at 1-978-858-0345.

My fish died is there something wrong with the water?
Be sure to consult an aquarium reference for adding fish to water containing free chlorine.  Our water has a free chlorine residual to protect against bacteria growth.

Does our water come from wells?
The Town of Tewksbury's wells are no longer in service.  Our water is pumped from the Merrimack River and treated at our Water Treatment Plant on Merrimack Drive.

How much does my water cost?
As of March 2010, $7.25 per 1000 gallons for the first 35,000 gallons, $10.15 per 1000 gallons for the next 35,000 gallons, $13.09 per 1000 gallons for the next 70,000 gallons, and $15.06 per 1000 gallons above 140,000 gallons. 

Further questions, call Water Billing at 978-640-4350.

How much does it cost to fill a pool? 

Call Water Billing with your pool size at 1-978-640-4350.

I need my water shut off, who should I call?
Call the Department of Public Works main line at 978-640-4440 or the Water & Sewer Division at 978-640-4440 x226.

Problems related to Sewer installation, call 1-978-640-4440 ext. 224