Starkville Utilities Is Working to Reduce Occurrences of ‘Brown’ Water

Proactive strategies include system flushing and diagnostic testing

As part of its efforts to maintain a water supply that meets the highest quality standards, Starkville Utilities is responding to customer reports about brown water and using a variety of strategies to control water discoloration. Starkville Utilities assures customers that their water is safe to drink and fully complies with Mississippi Department of Health regulations.

“We’re working year-round to ensure Starkville is served by a safe, reliable and compliant water supply,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “We understand the concerns when customers notice discolored water coming from taps. That’s why we treat reports of brown water calls as priority and dispatch crews, even after hours and on weekends, to investigate the cause and develop solutions to improve water clarity.”

Temporary discoloration, which is normal in aging water systems and is not harmful to health. This discoloration is typically caused when naturally occurring minerals such as iron that build up inside pipes are dislodged.

Starkville Utilities employs a proactive flushing strategy using fire hydrants to accelerate water flow, which scours deposits from pipe linings and eventually washes them out of the system. The entire system is flushed every spring and fall, but isolated portions may require more frequent flushing. In a small percentage of cases, water discoloration could signal underlying problems.

“We encourage customers to contact us when they notice brown water so we can send teams out to investigate the situation and make sure it’s not being caused by other issues, such as equipment or piping problems,” said Vincent McKenzie, system engineer. “Improving water clarity to better serve customers is a priority.”

Before making its way to customers, Starkville’s water supply is repeatedly filtered by natural processes. Water is drawn from an aquifer deep below the ground’s surface where it has seeped through layers of rock, sand and gravel to remove impurities. Starkville Utilities performs additional filtration to “polish” the water before it enters the city’s system.

“An important part of our Renew Principle commitment is being proactive and working to prevent issues before they become serious,” Kemp said. “We’ll continue responding promptly to reports of brown water while employing routine flushing and maintenance strategies to increase customer confidence in Starkville’s water supply.”

Starkville Utilities posts signage in areas where flushing is taking place. Flushing may cause a temporary drop in water pressure. Customers who experience longer periods of low pressure are urged to contact Starkville Utilities at 662-323-3133.

Starkville Utilities is a municipally owned and operated electric and water utility, serving more than 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville as well as the state’s largest institution of higher learning, Mississippi State University.

We are a Water and Electric Utilities Company in Starkville