Discolored Water, Reduced Pressure & Other Quality Issues

Discolored Water

If you experience discolored water from it may due to hydrant flushing, a water main break, valve exercising, nearby construction, or other use of a fire hydrant such as fire response, road construction, or street sweeping. When pipelines in the streets are disturbed mineral sediments may sometimes break loose and cause rust or dirty-looking water. The sediments are mineral deposits that naturally occur in water. 

To clear the discoloration, run the cold water tap for 30 to 60 minutes to clear the pipes. Flush the internal cold water plumbing lines until all faucets run clear, start at the lowest level of your home and work your way up to the highest level. (NOTE: Never run the hot water until the cold water looks clear. Running hot water can draw discolored water into your hot water heater, which could cause long-term damage to your system.) 

Reduced Pressure

The pressure at a particular location in essentially static and is based on the elevation, proximity to water tank, and proximity to a system pump. Depending on the tank levels and the system demand the pressure could vary between 5 and 10 psi, but the baseline pressure at a property fixed and cannot be increased. The pressure within the township varies from 40 psi to 120 psi depending on the location. If you street side pressure is over 80 psi, the plumbing code requires that pressure reducing valve (PRV) be installed to reduced the incoming pressure.

The loose sediment from hydrant flushing, water main breaks and construction can cause discolored water which can potentially clog and cause a reduced pressure in some plumbing equipment such as:

  • Whole house filters
  • Water softeners
  • PRV
  • Aerators on faucets  
  • Water meters

Beside clogged plumbing equipment, reduced pressure can also be caused by internal plumbing issues such as the following:

  • A failed PRV
  • A collapsed or broken shut off valve
  • Excessive water use at the property. See High Bill? Check for Leaks for more information
  • Frozen Pipes
  • Excessive calcium deposits on faucet aerators and shower heads

Air in Water 

Similar to discolored water, if you experience sporadic or a pulsating stream of white water from your fixtures when you first use them or "milky" water this is a result of air. This is usually caused by a small amount of air trapped in your plumbing lines and will resolve itself through normal water usage. This trapped air is caused by hydrant flushing, a water main break, valve exercising, nearby construction, or other use of a fire hydrant such as fire response, road construction, or street sweeping

Hard Water

Hardness in water is a measurement of the mineral content in the water, primarily calcium and magnesium. The well water sources in Livingston are considered above average in hardness. The average hardness of the well water is 14 grains per gallon (GPG). Hard water is a secondary criteria and drinking hard water is not a health concern. Hard water will result in mineral deposits in cookware, dishware, aerator fixtures, glassware and other appliances and plumbing elements. Rinse aid, booster detergents, and vinegar can be used in a dishwasher to reduce hard water deposits. Some consumers may elect to install a water softener at the property.

Taste & Odor 

The Township water is required to have chlorine added to the water. The chlorine level in the water varies depending on the proximity of a property to a well house, bulk purchase point, tank, or pumping station. Some taste and odor concerns are due this required chlorine.

Other things that can cause a change in the taste in water is season change. Certain wells are turned off and on during the season change and the purchased surface water from New Jersey American Water is from a reservoir which has seasonal temperature changes. Also if a consumer has recently changed medications, supplements, or diet they may perceive a change in taste in the water. Finally, if a consumer previously lived elsewhere the source water at the prior residence may have had different hardness and mineral content and so the consumer may perceive a different taste with Livingston's water.

Lastly certain fixtures at a property may produce odor when the water is first turned after not being used for a while. This can be the result of sewer gases trapped in the p-trap under the sink being released or if the sink has overflow drains. Pouring a small amount of bleach or vinegar down the drain periodically can help reduce these odors.


Livingston does not add fluoride to the water. New Jersey American Water and the East Orange Water Commission also do not add fluoride to the water. However, all water contains some naturally occurring fluoride.

Water Main Breaks

Water main breaks can result in many of the issues outlined above. If the water quality issues are associated with a water main break please consider the additional steps listed below:

  • Empty and clean your automatic ice makers and water chillers.
  • Service connections with a water softener/cartridge filters should be run through a regeneration cycle or other procedures recommended by the manufacturer. 
  • If pressure is still low at a certain faucet, take off the aerator and clear off sediment using water or vinegar.
  • Drain and refill your hot water heater if the temperature is set below 113 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Water reservoirs in tall buildings should be drained and refilled (as applicable).