Frequently Asked Questions with Answers.

How do I report a leak?

Call 850-455-8552 and leave a message with the time, location and call back number.

Is water with chlorine in it safe to drink?

  • Yes. Tests have shown that the amount of chlorine found in treated water is safe to drink although some people object to the taste. The US Environmental Protection Agency established maximum allowable levels of "residual" disinfectants, which are added to water as it enters the distribution system to protect against germs.

What should I do to avoid cold-weather problems with my pipes?

  • There are several necessary steps homeowners should take to avoid freezing pipes. First, disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe. Next, insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas. Make sure you locate your master valve in case pipes freeze and rupture. If expecting severe cold weather and worried about your pipes freezing, you can also leave a small stream of water flowing in the bathroom during the worst of the cold spell. Let just enough water through to produce a steady, thin stream.

What is the definition of safe water? I've heard it called "potable water".

  • Water is considered safe to drink if it meets or exceeds all of the federal, state, and provincial standards that are legally enforceable. In the United States if your tap water does not meet any one of the standards, your water supplier must notify all it customers of the problem. Water is called potable water when it is safe to drink.

What causes the pink and sometime dark gray stain on bathroom fixtures?

  • The pinkish film, and sometimes a dark gray color frequently noted in bathrooms on shower stalls, tubs, tile, toilets, sinks, toothbrush holders, and on pets' water bowls is caused by the growth of the bacterium Serratia marcescens. Serratia is commonly isolated from soil, water, plants, insects, and vertebrates (including man). The bacteria can be introduced into the house through any of the above-mentioned sources. The bathroom provides a perfect environment (moist and warm) for bacteria to thrive.
  • The best solution to this problem is to continually clean and dry the involved surfaces to keep them free from bacteria. Chlorine-based compounds appear to work best, but keep in mind that abrasive cleaners may scratch fixtures making them more susceptible to bacterial growth. Chlorine bleach can be used periodically to disinfect the toilet and help to eliminate the occurrence of the pink/dark residue. Keeping bathtubs and sinks wiped down using a solution that contains chlorine will also help to minimize its occurrence.
  • Serratia will not survive in chlorinated drinking water.

Why do I sometimes notice sediment in my water?

  • Sediment can appear in your drinking water any time there is a sudden change in the velocity, volume, or direction of water flowing through our mains. These conditions may occur following the opening of a fire hydrant or when we flush the distribution system. Sediment is the result of an accumulation of minerals in the water mains.
  • Each year we flush several hundred miles of water mains to control the buildup of these materials; these materials pose no health risk. Water with sediment should clear within several hours.

Why are the strainers in my faucets clogged with white particles?

  • These white particles are very likely pieces of the dip tube from your hot water heater. Several brands of hot water heaters manufactured in the 1980's were made using a faulty dip tube that disintegrates over time. The dip tube carries the cold water from the top of the hot water heater to the bottom, where the cold water is heated. Over time, the dip tube disintegrates and the white dip tube particles are carried through the household pipes. If the particles are large enough they are caught in the strainers of the sink faucets or showerheads. Since it is only a hot water concern, these particles will only be found in places where hot water travels, so the toilet bowls and tanks, and automatic ice-makers will not contain these particles if indeed they are from the dip tube. If you are experiencing a problem of this nature, call the manufacturer of your hot water heater for further information.

Hydrant Flushing Program

Periodically, PWS staff open fire hydrants around the coverage area and allow the water to flow through the pipes. Our hydrant flushing program is very important to our water system. It is an integral part of our ongoing effort to deliver the safest and highest quality water possible. We schedule our flushing program during the wetter months when water supplies are more plentiful. We flush from larger mains first, then move to smaller mains. The flushing route is carefully planned, and valves are opened and closed to control the direction of the water.


Hydrant flushing enhances water quality by flushing sediment from the mainline pipes, checks for closed valves and weak flows in our mainlines, verifies the proper operation of hydrants and valves, and maintains firefighting capability.


If you see a crew flushing a hydrant on your street, avoid running tap water and using the washing machine or the dishwasher until the flushing is done. If you see hydrant flushing crews working in the area, please drive carefully and treat them like any other road construction crew.


If tap water is used during flushing, it could come out discolored. If you encounter discolored water, shut the water off and wait several minutes. After waiting, check the clarity by running cold water for a few minutes, allowing new water to work its way into your pipes. If the water is clear, it's OK to use. If not, wait a few more minutes and check again. In some cases, there may be slight discoloration for a few hours. This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water, it does not affect the taste or water quality. Avoid washing laundry during scheduled flushing times. Wait until the water runs clear at the tap, then wash a load of dark clothes first. If pressure or volume seems low, check your faucet screens for trapped particles.


When a hydrant is opened, there will be temporary incidences of discolored water while fine sediment particles are flushed out. There is no health hazard associated with the discolored water. Allow a few hours for discoloration to dissipate. To verify water is clear, run your cold-water tap for a few minutes.