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CityLink Seattle

Brown water from main break? Let it run

Seattle Public Utilities says brown water is common when water mains break

Due to a water main break near University Village in Seattle, customers may see brownish water coming from their taps. This is common when there is a sudden change in the flow of water in the pipeline.

Discolored water comes from internal pipe rust and sediment getting stirred up. When this happens the water is still safe. However, the water may be unappealing, so we recommend that you wait until it clears before drinking it.

The water should clear on its own. Try running the cold water for a few minutes to see if it is clearing or still discolored. If the water does not clear, let the water sit for an hour. Then run the water for a few minutes and flush the toilet a couple of times.

Avoid running hot water if the cold water is still discolored. This will minimize filling the hot water tank with turbid water. If you are washing clothes at the time, it is better to stop the cycle while it is full and wait until clean water is available to finish. If you allow the water to empty from the washing machine and go into the spin cycle it is more likely to cause permanent staining to the laundry items.