Why does my water look dirty, have an odd color, or have particles in it?

From the time your drinking water is purified at our treatment plants until it pours from your tap, there are chances for it to pick up things that can change the way it looks. Sometimes this happens as close as your home's own plumbing. Some possible causes of dirty, discolored water or particles/sediment include:

  • High flows in water mains due to fire fighting, broken hydrants, or main flushing. Unusual high-flow conditions can stir up sediment from the mains.
  • Switching treatment plants. When the City switches between Hennessey Water Treatment Plant in the north and E.I. Barwick Jamieson Canyon Water Treatment Plant in the south, the change in system flow direction can stir up materials in the mains.
  • Construction activity. Your service connection from the main to the meter is sometimes disturbed by construction activities of contractors or other utilities.
  • Aging galvanized plumbing. Buildup on galvanized steel home plumbing can produce particles or reddish-brown water, particularly noticeable when the tap is first turned on. The buildup can also create problems of insufficient flow within the home.
  • Hot water heater. This is the most common source of particles in a home plumbing system, either from a defective dip tube or from the anode.

Call Water Division staff at 707-257-9521 to report any concerns with your water's appearance.

Show All Answers

1. Where does Napa's water come from?
2. Who is served by the City of Napa Water System?
3. What are the major components of the Water System?
4. How much water is used by City of Napa customers?
5. How do I establish water service?
6. How much does the water cost?
7. How can I pay my bill?
8. When do you read my meter? Can I read the meter myself?
9. Why do I need a backflow prevention device?
10. Will PG&E planned power outages affect my water service?
11. How do I report a leak?
12. If I have a leak, who is responsible for repairing it?
13. How do I get my water turned off so I can make repairs to my plumbing or irrigation?
14. How do I report a water quality concern?
15. Why does my water look dirty, have an odd color, or have particles in it?
16. Why does my water have a strange taste or odor?
17. Does the City add fluoride to the drinking water?
18. What is the water hardness?