Discoloured water - Kitchener Utilities
Kitchener Utilities


Discoloured Water

The water supply in Waterloo Region about 80 per cent groundwater. Occasionally, discoloured water comes out of city taps; this is from iron and manganese that naturally occurs in groundwater.

Why is my water discoloured and is the water safe?

Iron and manganese are not a health risk. The water is safe to drink; however, you should flush your lines until the water runs clear before you drink it.

Why does discoloured water occur?

The iron and manganese that has settled in the distribution pipes can be stirred up when the mains are flushed or there is a change in pressure from events such as a fire or watermain break.

The City of Kitchener flushes pipes until the water runs clear, in response to reports of discoloured water. Generally, we try to be proactive, flushing the pipes when we suspect the valving or planned maintenance may cause an issue. However, for watermain breaks and unplanned work, the flushing is done after the event. 

Clearing the discoloured water

To eliminate the discoloured water, you can turn on a cold water tap nearest your water meter and let it flush slowly for several minutes until it runs clear.

If you have drawn in this discoloured water from the affected pipes on one event, or have drawn in small amount over time, some can remain on your softener resin or in your hot water tank. Here are a couple tips to clear the discolouration.

  • Firstly, if you have a softener and there has been a build-up of iron and manganese over time, when the softener regenerates, it can release some of the minerals and discolour your water. Check to see if the discolouration is in the hard water as well as the soft.
  • Try running your softener on bypass. If it is the softener issuing the discoloured water, there are products available from hardware stores to treat your resin to remove iron. Also check to see if the hot water is affected, by putting the softener on bypass and running the hot water.

If you continue to have an issue with discoloured water after attempting the above, please call 519-741-2529 ext. 3 for Kitchener Utilities to flush the watermain.