GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Starting in July, the city of Glens Falls has been hearing questions about the color of residents’ water. Two spikes in activity in the city water system are considered isolated incidents – but the city is still trying to figure out what caused them.
“We had two issues, in July and September, where we had a large increase and spike in water usage, from – we assume – an industrial user,” said Glens Falls Water & Sewer Superintendent Bill Norton. “We think it had to have been a six-inch line or greater.”
Both spikes in the system had the same effect: Brown or otherwise discolored water coming out of taps around the city. Norton says that whoever instigated the spike caused the flow to shoot up from 13,000 to 28,000 gallons per minute, creating a volume draw that kicked up sediment previously settled in the city’s miles of pipes.
In the meantime, the city is trying to determine who the mystery user is. As of Friday, Norton’s department was in the midst of reviewing meter readings from the spike dates – July 27 and Sept. 16. The city is asking commercial and industrial businesses hooked up to its water system to review their own records of usage. The top priority is making sure so much undue stress isn’t put on the system again.
In the meantime, the sediment in the water drew dozens of questions and complaints from residents during both incidents. On Monday, the city started its twice-annual hydrant flushing procedure, which has a chance to cause further temporary discoloration. Whether from a mysterious spike or routine work, the solution for discolored pipes is to run cold water through multiple sources until the water clarifies.
And no – the discoloration doesn’t mean that the city’s clean water is mixing with sewage. The city sewer line runs on a completely separate set of pipes. Norton believes residents may have been worried about cross-contamination after a break in the sewer line was detected and dealt with on Glen Street earlier in September.