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For Immediate Release
Contact:  Matt Schilling
614 | 466 7750

PUCO Recognizes August as National Water Quality Month

COLUMBUS, OHIO (July 18, 2013) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulates investor-owned water companies throughout the state. Included in this regulation are certain standards that apply to water supplied to all customers. The standards are put in place as a way to provide consumers with the best water quality and service possible.

Untreated water may contain naturally occurring inorganic material, as well as man-made contaminants such as pesticides, bacteria and other pollutants that may be harmful to people’s health. Water utilities must clean and disinfect the water they use to remove these impurities. Federal and state government agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, enforce requirements regarding the production of drinking water. For safety reasons, water utilities are required to perform numerous tests on the water they use and meet stringent treatment requirements before they can distribute it to customers.

In recognition of National Water Quality Month, celebrated each August, the PUCO answers some commonly asked questions regarding water quality:

  • My water is rusty/discolored, what do I need to do?

If water pressure is significantly lower than normal in addition to discolored, do not consume any water until after first discussing your service situation with your water company. In any event, contact the utility to make them aware of your service problem. Your discolored water may be due to routine system flushing maintenance in your area — a program which you should have received advance notice of. If this is the case, then water should clear after a short period of water usage. Do not wash laundry under such conditions.

If the company confirms that no system flushing or water line break has occurred, inquire if the water company treats for iron or manganese (does treatment include filtration or does the water system feed a phosphate to keep these minerals suspended in the water?). If yes, ask if they are having treatment problems? If no (or yes), request that the water system investigate your problem and possibly flush the distribution system in your area after notification to all customers who may be affected.

If your water service is routinely discolored and the company’s treatment does not include filtration, you may want to consider various residential filtration systems.

  • My water is very hard. What can I do?

If you are unhappy with water hardness and the company’s treatment does not include softening, then you may want to install a softening system. Softeners will eliminate iron problems to a degree.

The ions from the minerals calcium and magnesium typically cause water hardness. If your water service provider provides softened water, inquire if they are having treatment problems. Softened water should range between 80 to 150 mg/l (5–9 grains) hardness.

If you have questions about your water quality, contact the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) or visit the PUCO website at www.PUCO.ohio.gov. If you are not a customer of a PUCO regulated water company, you should contact the city, county, district or cooperative that supplies your water service.

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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business, and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe, and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.

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