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Water naturally varies in taste and odor at different times of the year. Taste and odor problems can come from new or old pipelines, plumbing fixtures, or changes in water quality. Customers may notice changes during severe winter storms; when river water levels are low; or during hot weather conditions.
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The pH of our water after treatment ranges from 7.2 to 7.8 standard units; the average pH is 7.5 units.
Salem's water is moderately hard. It ranges from 9 to 12 grains per gallon (147 to 207 parts per million) with an average of 10 grains per gallon (176 parts per million).
Rusting galvanized pipe in plumbing systems is the typical cause of discolored water. Iron causes the discoloration; it is not a health risk. If the cold water is discolored, it will clear after running a bit. If the hot water is rusty, the water heater may need flushing. If you flush it, please follow the manufacturer's directions.
Yes, we do add fluoride to the water in accordance with Virginia Department of Health regulations. Fluoride is added to aid in the prevention of tooth decay. Fluoride analysis on fluoride levels are done every four hours.
Chlorine odors may be more noticeable during the summer. Chlorine kills organisms that may cause disease. If you remove the chlorine, be sure to refrigerate the water to limit bacterial regrowth.
Water becomes saturated with air due to temperature changes in the water giving it a milky look. To be sure that this is the problem collect a glass of water and set it out. The air should rise to the top, therefore clearing from the bottom up. Flushing your water lines may help this situation some but, it will disappear over time with the temperature change.
You should contact the City of Salem Water Department Office at 540-375-3029. Our chemist, Marcus Potts, or our Chief Water Treatment Plant Operator, Frank Young, will be able to assist you.