Review Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my water have a yellow or greenish tint?
Short answer: Dissolved organic material.
The City of Palm Coast Utility Department utilizes 2 different treatment processes to treat the water for the Palm Coast community. The northern plant located on Palm Coast Parkway west is a 6.0 million gallon / day conventional lime softening facility. This plant is fed by 30 shallow aquifer wells. These wells average 60 to 90 ft. in depth. As rainfall percolates through the ground and into this shallow aquifer the ground water picks up minerals (mostly calcium) and color from the organic deposits in the underlying geologic strata. The shallow aquifer groundwater is pumped to the treatment facility where it undergoes chemical precipitation treatment, filtration and disinfection. The treatment process removes approximately 75% of the calcium and some of the color. The finished water averages 12 color units (the secondary standard for color is 15 units). This color is most noticeable in a large volume with a light-colored background. The southern half of the Palm Coast community is served by a 6.38 million gallon / day Nano filtration or membrane softening reverse osmosis treatment plant. This plant does essentially the same thing that the lime plant does (softens water – removes hardness) but utilizing a different method. The finished watercolor level leaving this plant is somewhat less than that of the lime plant, averaging 9 color units, so it is less noticeable. The Utility department attempts to minimize the color in the finished water by not utilizing the higher color wells concurrently, but during drought and high demand periods higher color levels are unavoidable. The color in our drinking water is not a health hazard – it is strictly an aesthetic issue. The potable water serving the Palm Coast community meets all applicable Federal and State standards for drinking water and is perfectly safe to drink.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, the water meets all of the standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Palm Coast water tastes great!
If you want a great tasting glass of tap water, head to Palm Coast. At a recent regional meeting of the Florida Section American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Florida Water Environment Association, the City of Palm Coast was recognized as having the "Best Tasting Drinking Water in Northeast Florida."
Judges from the University of North Florida taste-tested water samples submitted by several utility departments including St. Augustine, St. Johns County, and the Jacksonville Electric Authority. Palm Coast's water was rated first, based on taste, odor, color, and clarity.
“The Palm Coast Utility Department is constantly working to ensure that our citizens have the highest quality, best tasting drinking water in the entire State of Florida”, says Jim Hogan, Water Operations Manager for the City of Palm Coast. "Having this tremendous recognition from our peers is a clear validation of our efforts.
“Our staff is a dedicated team of professionals that take great pride in performing their jobs. We're all very proud that not only does Palm Coast's water meet all state and federal standards , but it tastes great too!”
Palm Coast's water will go glass-to-glass against other regional winners in Tallahassee at at statewide taste testing in the near future. The statewide winner will be eligible to compete in the “Best of the Best” competition to be held at the San Diego AWWA Annual Conference in June.
Protection of public potable water supply.
The Utility Department is primarily responsible for protecting the public potable water supply against present or future possible contamination. This responsibility begins at the water supply source, includes the public water system, and ends at the point of water delivery to the customer's premises or system. The customer is responsible for his or her on-site water lines, which begin at the discharge side of the meter/backflow prevention device.
Is the water safe for pets and fish?
Our water is safe for all pets to drink except for fish, reptiles and amphibians that live in water. Animals that live in water take water directly into their bloodstream through their gills. For this reason, the disinfectant must be removed before adding water to fish bowls and aquariums. Consult your local pet store for the appropriate neutralizing chemical. Ensure that the product says that it will neutralize “Chloramines” and “Chlorine”.
What is the hardness of my drinking water?
The average hardness of the drinking water in Palm Coast is about 100mg/L (or expressed in different units, about 6 grains per gallon). In Palm Coast since the water is soft, dish washing and clothes washing require less detergent that in cities that have hard water. Soft water is 100mg/L or less. Hard water is 200 mg/L or more.
Does the City add fluoride to the drinking water?
No, the City does not add fluoride to the water. There are very low levels of fluoride that are naturally present in Palm Coast drinking water. The average amount of fluoride in our water is about 0.061 mg/L (almost non-detectable). This is well below the maximum limit of 4.0 mg/L
Do I need to use a fluoride supplement?
The trace amount (0.061 mg/L) of fluoride that is present in Palm Coast drinking water is considered inadequate for dental protection purposes. Individuals must provide their own supplements if they so desire. It is suggested that your dentist.
Disinfection: Why do we use Monochloramine? (Not Chlorine)
Monochloramine is a compound that uses both chlorine and ammonia. This disinfectant is used o that the chlorine does not react with certain organic material that occurs naturally in almost all ground water. A compound called Trihalomethane is formed as a result of these organic materials reacting with free chlorine. The ammonia is added to react with the chlorine, so the chlorine does not react with the organic materials reacting with free chlorine. The ammonia is added to react with the chlorine, so the chlorine does not react with the organic material. The city also temporarily changes the disinfection treatment procedure to free chlorine three times a year. This conversion to chlorine (which is a stronger disinfectant) from chloramines (which is a longer lasting disinfectant) allows us to perform a water distribution system purge as recommended by the Department of Environmental Protection for water utilities using chloramines as their primary disinfectant. After this process is completed, we will revert to disinfection by the chloramines' method. During this period, customers may experience a slight increase in the taste and odor of chlorine.
What can I do if my water smells and tastes like chlorine?
The City of Palm Coast disinfects the drinking water with chloramines to ensure protection against contaminates throughout the distribution system. The City routinely collects bacteriologic samples throughout the city to ensure the water is safe and chlorine and pH levels are at our target level. However, at times customers may notice an increase in chlorine taste and odor. A chlorine odor is often an indicator that the disinfectant is effectively working to remove bacteria.
A “do-it-yourself” approach to removing chlorine odor is to fill a pitcher with tap water and set it aside for several hours while the chlorine dissipates. Transferring the water rapidly between two pitchers can accelerate chlorine dissipation. Refresh refrigerated stored water every 24 hours.
Why does my water from the tap smell like rotten eggs?
An odor from your tap is commonly from the sink drain and not the water. The plumbing beneath your sink, typically the u-shape pipe, can collect debris over time and create an odor at your tap. If you smell an odor, fill a clean glass halfway with tap water and smell the water in a separate room or outdoors. If the odor is no longer present, the odor is likely from the plumbing beneath your sink. If the smell is still present it may be your hot water heater.
Single handle water faucets are typically being used in these situation and are not being fully turned on the cold position. This can occur when a water heater is too large for the amount of hot water typically used or may be sale water. This happens in homes that are left vacant for a long period of time. Flush lines to bring in a fresh water and total chlorine residual. Heating the water can liberate hydrogen. If there are any sulfur compounds available, the result would be the formation of Hydrogen Sulfide, a rotten egg odor causing gas.
In addition, sulfur reducing bacteria can liberate hydrogen sulfide and cause black water. A solution is to increase the temperature of the hot water heater temporarily to above 160 degrees. This will destroy the sulfur bacteria. The normal temperature for hot water heaters is 120° and -125°.
Why does my water sometimes taste/smell funny?
If you recently moved form an area where the water contained very few naturally occurring minerals, or you are accustomed to a certain type of source water, such as a well or surface water supply, your water might taste different due to minerals it contains. The taste of domestic drinking water varies with its source. It could be that you're simply not used to the new taste yet.
What causes the water to stain my clothes?
Stains can be caused by corrosion products from the distribution system or household plumbing, old hot water heaters, washing machines, or the type of detergent or bleach used. This condition can often be solved by simply flushing the water lines or water heater, or changing the type of detergent or bleach used.
Why are my ice cubes cloudy or why are there particles in my water from my ice cubes?
Entrained air can cause cloudy ice cubes. The cubes freeze, causing the air not to have time to dissipate. The particles are calcium carbonate that came out of solution due to the freezing process and settle to the bottom of the glass. This is normal and not harmful in any way.
Why is there orange or pink material in both shower and bath?
Pink residue is less likely a problem associated with water quality than with naturally occurring airborne bacteria, and also affected by the homeowner’s cleaning habits. The bacteria produce a pinkish film, and sometimes a dark gray film, on surfaces that are regularly moist, including shower heads, toilet bowls, bathtubs sink drains and tile. Short of buying pink fixtures, try to keep the problem areas as dry as possible. Do not close shower doors. Do not allow the shower curtain to stay folded over. Do not let water stand around the drains of the sink or bathtub. Keep the bathroom well ventilated. Yet, be aware that the film will most likely return in anywhere from a week to three months. Once the pink development begins, it is very difficult to eradicate completely.
Sometimes my water looks milky. Is it still safe to drink?
In a drinking water system, the water travels under pressure. Occasionally, during maintenance work, air may become trapped inside these pipes and when the pipe is returned to service, the water pressure causes the air to dissolve into the water. Then, when the water comes out of the tap, it is no longer under pressure and the air that was dissolved in the water, comes out of solution forming very tiny bubbles. This causes the water to look milky. When poured into a glass, the milky water will start to clear from the bottom up - with the clear water slowly moving upward. Often, when the water is clearing, the water will effervesce like pop. Usually, this milky appearance is only temporary, and the water will soon return to normal. The water is still safe to drink.
Dishwasher Problems? Staining or etching of dishes, glasses or silverware?
Etching is caused by overuse of dish washing detergents on pre – rinsed glasses / dishes. The recommendation is to use the proper amount of detergent for our hardness level (approximately 6 grains per gallon), use a different product, or use a drying agent such as Jet Dry.
If you have staining or corrosion problems on your silverware, try separating the knives from other silverware. Some knives have a high carbon content and will develop surface rust or can cause surface rust on other utensils. Always hand wash and dry, fine china, and real silverware.
Why does my toilet bowl have a black ring around it? / What is that black slimy stuff in my kitchen/bathroom faucets?
This is usually mold, mildew or mineral deposits at the water / air interface. Bacteria, fungus and mold spores normally found in the air can cause rings in your toilet bowl. Wet surfaces provide ideal conditions, and the organisms reproduce rapidly, growing together to form a ring. The color of the ring depends on the species of bacteria, mold or fungus. Another possibility may be your washers and flappers inside the toilet tank are breaking down from the chlorine causing the black coming off your flapper to stain your toilet. You can easily remove the rings with a toilet bowl brush and household cleaners. Close the toilet lid to reduce the number of spores and reduce the light needed for growth. The recommendation is to clean with bleach or a cleaning product such as CLR. Once removed, toilet rings are bound to come back. Although a lot of cleaning agents are advertised as being able to remove the toilet rings permanently, recurring toilet rings are very common.
Problems with shark bite hot water heater supply line connectors?
Customers have reported a host of problems in connection with their SharkBite connector hoses.
The most prominent issue, however, appears to be the presence of black “flakes,” “specks,” “chunks” or “slime” in the hot water supply.
SharkBite customers have reported black residue coming out of their kitchen and bathroom sinks, bathtubs and showerheads. Complaints regarding low water pressure, leaking, clogged faucets and damage to home appliances and fixtures have also been reported.
Can black mold grow in faucets? Yes
It has been observed that black mold on faucets may be growing in the aerator that is attached to the end of the faucet. Regular cleaning, by unscrewing the aerator from the faucet and cleaning with mild bleach solution, is recommended. Also, older faucets use a generic black rubber washers called buna-n to keep them from dripping and or leaking. If you take one apart and take out the washer you can actually get the black stuff from the rubber on your hands. This is what was used for many years and may still be used today in some faucets. If you have the old black rubber washers, replace them with a red rubber/neoprene type washer. Disintegration is often caused by disinfectants used in the City's water supply.
Is orthophosphate safe in my drinking water?
Yes, orthophosphate is a commonly used corrosion control treatment and is safe in drinking water. In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated orthophosphate treatment as the optimal corrosion control treatment for reducing the presence of lead in drinking water. Orthophosphate is a food-grade chemical and is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA. DC Water has set strict target levels for orthophosphate in the water distribution system and routinely samples and tests water to ensure levels meet EPA standards.
Why do we use Corrosion Inhibitors?
To preclude the leaching of certain metals into the water - particularly lead, copper and iron.
Does the City test for lead in the drinking water?
The simple answer is yes. Both lead and copper are materials that are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and those agencies dictate the method and frequency of that testing. Lead and copper can enter the drinking water, not only from the source, but can leach from the homeowner’s own plumbing and fixtures. Through its testing processes, the utility must demonstrate that its water is stable and does not promote leaching of these materials into the water from household plumbing systems. The treatment processes utilized in Palm Coast do produce drinking water that is stable, and all of the sample results taken for lead and copper from the water treatment facilities in Palm Coast have historically been below the minimum laboratory detection limit. In other words, are well within accepted safe levels for drinking water.
Why are there white eggshell like particles clogging my faucet aerators?
This problem may be coming from your hot water heater. The plastic dip tubes in water heaters often disintegrate with pieces going through the plumbing and being trapped in faucet aerators. The defective dip tubes tend to crumble and disintegrate into the tank. Over time, the water's acidity levels and the temperature settings on the water heater can have an effect on the rate at which these particular tubes fall apart, scattering white plastic particles into your water supply. Call a licensed plumber to investigate the problem.
Why do I sometimes see technicians flushing fire hydrants?
Palm Coast water quality technicians regularly flushes fire hydrants throughout the distribution system to test chlorine and pH levels. When the City is "flushing" the water lines you may see a fire hydrant wide-open allowing water to flow down the street. This process moves water through the pipelines at a fast enough rate to clean the lines, clear stagnant water, and ensure the water the City delivers to your home is of the highest quality. If you watch our technicians flush, you notice it comes out of a hydrant all at once, and the water may initially look discolored, but the water clears up rather quickly.
We appreciate concerns raised by our residents who call about what may be perceived as "wasting water," but rest assured we flush the lines because it is a necessary part of protecting our public health.
Does the City maintain the fire hydrants?
Palm Coast does hydrant maintenance regularly on all the fire hydrants throughout the City, and flushes hydrants to ensure that all fire hydrants re working properly and serviced. When performing maintenance very little water is flowing so the possibility of water discoloration is slight but possible.
Does the city sample the drinking water?
Yes, the City of Palm Coast takes bacteriological samples twice a month to ensure safe drinking water. We also have two water quality technicians that flush dead end water mains to check chlorine and ph. levels daily to ensure water quality.
Is bottled water safer than tap water?
Not necessarily. Check the bottled water label or contact the bottled water supplier for test results on their product. Under special circumstances, such as during an emergency, bottled water can be a good choice. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates public water systems. As shown in our Water Quality Report, the City's water supply meets all federal and state EPA drinking water standards. Bottled water must comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations. Most required monitoring under the FDA regulations is not as frequent as the monitoring done on City's water under EPA regulations.
Depending on the source of the water and the treatment process, some bottled waters may contain more or less amounts of substances than tap water. Some studies have shown that microbial growth may occur in bottled water during storage due to the lack of residual disinfectant. The City of Palm Coast combines chlorine and ammonia to form chloramines to its system to control microbial growth. This year Aquafina will begin stating on labels that its H2O comes from public water sources. And Nestlé Pure Life bottles will indicate whether the water comes from public, private or deep well sources. Dasani acknowledges on its website, but not on the label itself, that it draws from local water.
Why did I get a Precautionary Boil Water Notice "Green Tag" on my door?
When part of the water system has a specified loss in pressure because of a main break or water problem, the Department of health recommends issuing a precautionary boil water advisory to all affected customers. It usually takes us about 24-48 hours to fix main breaks and analyze water samples. We will notify you with rescind notice to let you know it's safe to drink the water. A new door tag will be issued if the notice continues longer than 48 hours.
What is corrosion control treatment?
Corrosion control treatment is a treatment technique used to prevent pipe corrosion and the presence of metals in drinking water. Drinking water treatment plants, such as the City of Palm Coast, use corrosion control treatment before water leaves the treatment plant. The City adds orthophosphate to prevent corrosion of pipes in the distribution system and in your home. Orthophosphate creates a thin protective coating inside pipes and plumbing fixtures and is very effective in reducing the presence of lead and other metals in the city's water.
TO DRAIN YOUR HOT WATER HEATER
Here is a general guideline of how it is done. Consult your hot water heater manual for specifics:
- Get a hose. One with a rubber gasket in it is best, to help avoid leakage at the hose connection.
- Turn off the power to the hot water heater. This is not optional because you can burn up your hot water heater if you do not shut it off.
- Turn off the water going into the hot water heater. Otherwise, it will continue to be replaced as it drains.
- Let the tank cool. How long this takes depends on the size of the tank, amount of insulation, and the temperature of the water in the tank when you started. Some people only need to wait a few hours. Others wait overnight.
- Connect the hose to the drain valve, which is a spigot at the bottom of the hot water tank, and run the other end someplace where it’s reasonable to let the water drain. Since the water will have sediment in it, you would be better off not draining it into your garden or any place where you have plant material, which might be sensitive to calcium.
- Turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in your home. It will act as a relief valve and hasten the flow of the water from the drain spigot.
- Turn on the drain spigot. Let it run until the tank is empty. Most of these spigots are angled and poorly designed to remove the sediment--remember, they are designed by the hot water tank manufacturers, who are much more interested in sales than good hot water heater maintenance!
- Turn the water to the tank back on while the drain spigot is still open to remove any remaining sediment. Once the water runs clear from the end of the hose, you can close the valve to allow the tank to heat up.
- Shut the hot water faucet off (the one you opened in your house).
- When the tank is full, turn the water heater back on.