Trouble-Shooting Water Quality Concerns

The Groundwater Resource Protection Section responds to approximately 500 customer water quality concerns annually. Some problems may be resolved over the phone, and others require a visit from a Water Quality Inspector.

Water Quality Inspectors will normally respond to customer concerns within an hour of the office being contacted between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (normal business days).

Problem Possible Cause Solution
Cloudy/Milky Colored Water
1. Customers lines only.
2. Neighborhood (distribution lines)
Air Saturated water
  1. Aerator needs to be cleaned or replaced. Flush lines for short time only.
  2. Call SAWS at 210-233-3546
Black Floating Particles
  1. Bad internal supply line (often it is the braided stainless steel lines).
  2. Due to deterioration of toilet the flapper valve.
  1. Change supply line.
  2. Replace Flapper valve.
Black Particles Internal activated in line charcoal filter. By-pass filter and call service company.
White Floating Particles Deteriorating hot water heater dip tube. Call water heater manufacture.
Brown particles that are uniform in size Resin from water softener. Put softener on by-pass. Have water softener repaired and flush all lines in home to clear particles.
Rust When the water is shut off for a period of time and as the water sits in the galvanized internal pipes in the home rust particles my flake away from the pipe. Flush internal lines Call SAWS at 210-233-3546.
White or Light colored sediment Hard Water (calcium carbonate will precipitate when heated or frozen). Flush hot water heater regularly, 2-3 times a year to remove loose calcium carbonate.
  1. Water Main break
  2. Calcium build up in hot water heater.
  3. Water softener malfunction.
  1. Call SAWS at 210-704-SAWS.
  2. Flush hot water heater.
Low Pressure
  1. Water main construction or repair work
  2. Water line break at residence.
  3. Debris behind the aerator.
  1. Call SAWS 210-704-SAWS.
  2. Look for possible water leak.
  3. Clean aerator.
Taste Internal plumbing work Flush internal water lines.
Odor Odor coming from sink drain Call SAWS at 210-233-3546

Report a water quality concern any time of the day by calling 210-704-SAWS (7297).
For general questions or information about water quality, please call 210-233-3546.