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Seasonal Source Water Turn Over

Both the Saginaw County Health Department and the City of Saginaw Water System have experienced an increase in calls from citizens concerned about the smell of their drinking water. The City of Saginaw Water System has recently experienced a seasonal turn over in the source water (Lake Huron). This is a normal occurrence but does not usually last as long as it did this year. The water system has also been using water from our storage reservoirs at this time.  The City of Saginaw Water System is treating for odors with carbon but sometimes the odors can increase after they leave the plant. The odors are not harmful, and it is anticipated that they should improve in the next couple of weeks.

We would like to take this opportunity to also share some recommendations related to safe restoration of water service to buildings with discontinued or low service.  Buildings or business closures that last for weeks or months, which result in low or no water usage, can potentially lead to stagnant water inside the associated building or business plumbing.  This water may become unsafe to drink or otherwise use.

Proper flushing of building plumbing before reopening is important to maintaining water quality. Adequate flushing removes stagnant water from all areas of the building. This requires running water through all fixtures long enough to bring fresh water into the plumbing system. A thorough flushing of building plumbing should occur in the days before reopening.

There are several actions building owners and property managers can take prior to reopening:

  • Monitor for leaks:  Monitor the building during flushing to be sure there are no plumbing leaks or plugged drains that could lead to property damage.
  • Toilets:  Flush at least twice to move fresh water through the plumbing.
  • Faucets and Showers:  Run hot and cold water at full flow for several minutes each. Run cold water taps first, followed by hot water taps. If possible, remove faucet aerators before flushing.
  • Other Appliances and Apparatus:  Flush other appliances and apparatus thoroughly, at full flow, to bring fresh water into the system. If you have an appliance that has a filter, such as a refrigerator or ice maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing water filters after flushing is complete.

Flushing times will vary depending on building size and plumbing complexity.

Additional information about flushing and restoring water service can be found here on the City of Saginaw’s website under the Water Treatment or Maintenance and Service Divisions, under headings related to water quality.