Cloudy Water

We take the safety of the water we produce very seriously. All water-treatment and water-distribution operations are performed in strict compliance with regulations imposed by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The water that leaves our plant is of the highest purity. To further safeguard city water customers, we also perform spot-testing at various locations around the city on a regular basis.

However, some city water customers may experience cloudy water from time to time. There are two main causes for this.

First, as in most cities of a similar age to Elkins, much of our water infrastructure is getting quite old. Some pipes that are still in service may be more than 100 years old. As a result, those pipes are corroding. This corrosion is the main source of the cloudiness or rustiness that some customers experience. We are steadily replacing the city’s water pipes as other operations allow. However, this is a slow process, both because of the expense and because the age of the system also results in frequent ruptures of the current pipes, which must be repaired immediately.

However, many cities that have pipes of similar vintage do not experience cloudy water with as much frequency as Elkins. The second main cause of this situation in Elkins is the fact that our current water plant sits at the level of the river and pumps into tanks that are above the level of the city (on “reservoir hill” above High Street and on a similar hill in Crystal Springs).

During the day, when the water plant is pumping, water travels out from the plant. This water travels through the city’s water-main system, supplying water to city buildings and also eventually reaching and filling the tanks.

Then, when the pumps are shut off at night, water is supplied by gravity feed from the tanks. The result is that the direction of water flow and pressure essentially reverses every morning and evening. We believe that this pushing and pulling of the water in the city’s mains is responsible for stirring up sediment that would otherwise settle.

When the project to replace the current water plant is complete, the new water plant will also sit on “reservoir hill.” As a result, the water system will not experience the dramatic reversals in pressure and flow that occur now. We are hopeful that this will reduce the occurrence of cloudy water for our customers.

What to Do about Cloudy Water
If you are experiencing cloudy or discolored water, allow cold water to run in your bathtub or sink for 20 minutes. (Do not run hot water, as you will be filling your water heater with water containing sediments.) Use caution before washing laundry, especially with light colored items. If your laundry becomes stained due to discolored water, please contact one of the staff members below to obtain a chemical to help remove the stains.

Water Distribution Department Supervisor
Paul VanDevender
pvandevender@cityofelkinswv.com
Phone: (304) 636-6566
Location: 3 Baxter Street, Elkins, WV, 26241
401 Davis Avenue, Elkins, WV, 26241
6:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.

Operations Assistant
Melody Himes
mhimes@cityofelkinswv.com
Phone: 304-635-7021
Fax: 304-635-7132
401 Davis Avenue, Elkins, WV, 26241