Starkville Utilities Takes Action to Combat Brown Water

Ongoing initiative uses multiple strategies to improve water clarity

For more than 40 years, Starkville Utilities has provided customers with safe, reliable drinking water that meets or exceeds Mississippi Department of Health standards. Along with those efforts, Starkville Utilities continues employing a variety of strategies to eliminate brown water usually caused by iron build-up in older parts of the city’s water system.

“In recent years, we’ve had success in reducing or eliminating brown water, and those efforts continue,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Through a combination of infrastructure upgrades, routine flushing and other proactive strategies, we remain focused on the issue and respond to customers whenever they contact us with water concerns.”

Despite some localized issues with discoloration, Starkville’s water is safe to drink and fully complies with Mississippi Department of Health regulations, a fact reinforced in Starkville Utilities’ annual Drinking Water Quality Report.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, iron is a commonly occurring constituent of drinking water that is not known to cause health problems. Brown water is typically caused by iron and other minerals that build up inside pipes. Iron concentration also can increase when groundwater is filtered through rocks containing iron-rich minerals on its way to the well.

Starkville Utilities uses a variety of strategies to address discoloration. 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. Last year, Starkville Utilities launched a proactive flushing strategy to eliminate discoloration by flushing service pipes every spring.

Routine system maintenance and infrastructure upgrades and improvements help Starkville Utilities maintain high levels of water clarity and quality.

In addition, customers are encouraged to be proactive and assist in eliminating discolored water caused by sediment build-up in water heaters. Regular draining of the water heater will combat this issue as well as extend the life of the plumbing fixture.

Customers may follow Starkville Utilities on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn more about efforts to eliminate brown water along with updates on water system upgrades and maintenance and construction projects.

“We know brown water is an issue of concern for some customers, and we are committed to improving water clarity throughout our system,” Kemp said. “Communicating with customers about their water service is essential in gathering data that we can record and utilize to guide future capital investments and troubleshoot system performance.”

Customers may report brown water and other service issues by emailing, calling 662-323-3133, or using the city’s online request tracker:

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