November 2, 2021
Starkville Utilities is reassuring customers that crews are responding to reports of brown water affecting parts of the city’s water system, particularly in the Northgate neighborhood.
“We are investigating every report of brown water and using all of the tools at our disposal to resolve the issue,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Our goal is provide a safe, reliable and compliant water supply for Starkville that reflects the highest levels of quality. We appreciate customers’ patience during this process and want them to know we’re taking aggressive steps to improve water clarity throughout our water system.”
Starkville Utilities has been employing a variety of strategies to address discoloration, which is typically caused by naturally occurring minerals such as iron that build up inside pipes. While the phenomenon is normal in aging water systems and not harmful to health, brown water could signal underlying issues, such as malfunctiong valves, leaks, and other component issues.
“Despite localized issues with discoloration, Starkville’s water is safe to drink and fully complies with Mississippi Department of Health regulations,” said Vincent McKenzie, Starkville Utilities systems engineer. “Even so, we understand customer concerns and want them to know that we are working hard to address the issue.”
Crews are performing routine checks on the water system serving the Northgate neighborhood where the majority of cases are being reported. Opening fire hydrants to flush pipes is the most common method to improve water clarity and works by accelerating water flow to scour deposits from pipe linings.
“We’ve been able to resolve the majority of brown water incidents by flushing the water system,” said McKenzie. “In the Northgate neighborhood, we’ve checked all of the valves and are flushing with multiple hydrants, even hydrants a mile away from the affected area. We’re also searching for pressure drops in the system that could indicate leaks or other problems.”
In addition to flushing and diagnostic testing, Starkville Utilities is examining wells and filtering systems to determine if they could be contributing factors. In a small percentage of cases, discoloration can be caused by sediment build-up in water heaters.
Earlier this year, Starkville Utilities launched a proactive flushing strategy to eliminate discoloration by flushing service pipes every spring and fall. Routine system maintenance and infrastructure upgrades and improvements also help maintain high levels of water clarity and quality.
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.