Why is my water rusty?

The City of Otsego’s water originates from deep water aquifers, several hundred feet deep. Well water is typically high in dissolved minerals; iron is our most predominant mineral with orange color variations and soft flakey texture.  

The City of Otsego does not maintain a water treatment facility to remove background minerals however uses a polyphosphate to keep them in solution. Iron in our water is not a health concern but is very good at staining.

 Common rusty water causes:

  • Watermain disturbance – water distribution lines build up accumulations over time, flow velocities through the pipe works can scour those accumulations and carry you’re your service line as water is drawn into your home. Actions that lead to this disruption include firefighting occurrences, construction work, new development pipe testing and hydrant flushing.
  • Oxidation – Water introduced to oxygen: 2Fe + 3O2’s forms FE2O3 or rust.  Irrigation and splashing are examples of this reaction, noticeable where irrigation meets a sidewalk or siding and staining occurs.
  • Water age – polyphosphate deterioration will drop out iron over time. This can be noticed when a glass of water sits for several days, iron will come out solution and rest at the bottom of the glass.  

The Utility Operations team flushes hydrants spring and fall to help remove any build up within the main lines.  This high velocity water movement scours lining of City pipes and flushes out accumulations through a fire hydrant. Additionally, mixers are established in each Water Tower to keep water age uniform; water tower levels are seasonally adjusted to encourage frequent turnover resulting in fresher water.  

 If you are seeing rusty water:

  • Open several cold only water faucets until it clears. Larger flow faucets work best, and you should see the water clear up within 30 minutes.   
  • Once the cold water is clear run hot water through the same taps to verify the hot water is clear. It’s generally recommended to flush hot water heaters routinely for maintenance benefits including any build up within the tank.
  • Additional things to check: softener for salt and iron filters for buildup.  Iron in Well Water

Show All Answers

1. What is my drinking water quality?
2. Why is my water rusty?
3. Why do I notice a chlorine odor in the water?
4. Why is there a metallic taste in my water?
5. Why does the water sometimes look milky?
6. What causes the spots on my dishes?
7. I have a water softener in my home. How much water hardness does my water softener need to be set at?
8. Why does my water smell like rotten eggs and how do I get rid of it?
9. Faucet Deposits
10. Why is my water green?
11. Is City water safe to drink?
12. Who else can I discuss water concerns with?
13. Sample Site
14. Why are there dark specs/staining in my water?
15. How do I turn off the water supply to my house in the event of a scheduled plumbing repair?
16. What is the small metal disk in my yard or driveway?
17. Is the City responsible for plumbing leaks?
18. Does my insurance company cover my service line repairs/replacements?
19. How do I report a water or sewer issue?
20. I've noticed the water pressure in my house has decreased over the years, why?
21. How do I flush my plumbing?