Water Quality Concerns

The Public Utilities Department strives to provide Athens-Clarke County with the highest quality of clean, safe drinking water. Every year, the Water Resources Center's laboratory conducts thousands of tests to ensure the water leaving the J.G. Beacham Drinking Water Treatment Plant complies with all state and federal drinking water guidelines.

Despite our best efforts, there are rare occasions when the water entering your home does not meet the utility's or your expectations. For example, routine fire hydrant flushing, a water main break, or the repair of a damaged fire hydrant can result in discolored water at the faucet. If the water entering your home does not meet your expectations, please see below for possible answers to many water issues. If you still experience water quality concerns, please alert the utility to the problem and allow us to correct the issue.

What should I do if I have...

  1. Discolored Water
  2. Cloudy Water
  3. Chlorine Smell

Discolored Water

If your water contains a brown, red, orange, or yellow tint, an increase in minerals or other sediments in the water pipes is typically the cause. Sediment in water pipes can be disturbed in several ways, including by the routine flushing of fire hydrants, a surge in water flow through the pipes, or repairs to a damaged hydrant or water line.  The work may disturb sediment and result in discolored water for customers.

What Should I Do?

Discolored water is not harmful, though it does look unappealing and could have an unpleasant taste. Customers who experience discolored water should run cold water for up to 30 minutes to help remove it from their lines.  Using the discolored water to wash clothes can result in staining and is not advised. Those who continue to experience discolored water after running cold water should contact the Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department at 706-613-3495.

Discolored, brown water coming from a faucet


Cloudy water, taste, smell, or general drinking water quality questions:
Drinking Water Treatment Plant

To report discolored water or questions:
Water & Sewer Division
Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Drinking Water Treatment Plant