Frequently Asked Questions - CPWA


Cloudy water is caused when dissolved gases in the source waters are released under atmospheric pressure and increased temperature. The gases present are mostly oxygen and carbon dioxide, and do not pose a threat to public health. The Water Authority has two wells that are the primary source of milky water, Plank Road and Kinns Road. Customers in that area, and north, will be most likely to experience milky water. If left in a glass for a minute or so, the air will dissipate from the water, although drinking the water without letting the air escape is not harmful.

Discolored water results when water traveling through the water mains reaches high enough velocities to stir the iron and manganese sediment lying in the bottom of the water mains. Water main breaks, fire fighting activities, and extremely high system demand are typical causes of discolored water. There are no health risks associated with this type of problem, as the particulate matter causing the discoloration is simply iron and manganese oxides, and are not harmful. If you experience this problem, the easiest way to eliminate the discolored water from your system is to run as many cold water faucets, including bath tubs, sinks, and outside spigots, as possible at the same time. This will create a high enough flow rate from the water main to your home to clear out any sediment which may have found its way into your service line. If the problem does not clear up within a few minutes, it is possible that the sediment in the water main has not settled out yet. In this case, wait an hour or so and try it again.

The most common cause of "smelly water" is a non-toxic sulfate reducing bacteria, scientifically known as Divibrio Sulfurcans. This bacteria creates the energy it needs to survive by converting sulfate (SO4 ) to the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas you smell in the water. When chlorine is added to the public water supply for disinfection purposes, these bacteria are destroyed, removing the odor associated with their presence. These bacteria can, however, under certain circumstances, reemerge within the water system inside the home. Long periods of no water movement, like a toilet that does not get used often, or a hot water tank that does not get "turned over" enough, can cause the chlorine to dissipate out of the water, creating an ideal environment for bacterial growth. This problem is even more prevalent in softened water containing sodium in place of calcium and magnesium. The added compounds of the salt to the water speed up the depletion of anode rods used to protect the inside of the tank from corrosive energies. Most new hot water tanks have these anode rods in them. The rapid depletion of the anode rod, or more precisely, the cathodic reactions that cause the depletion, create a release of hydrogen ions into the water which are then converted to hydrogen sulfide gas. There are three possible solutions to this problem. 1) Remove the anode rod from the hot water tank. 2) Increase the temperature inside the hot water tank to 140 degrees Fahrenheit which will kill the bacteria. 3)Chlorinate the hot water system. Directions for chlorination can be found on the Rheem web site under their FAQ section on smelly water.

The remote can be removed from the siding by the homeowner by disconnecting the wire at the terminals and unscrewing the remote from the siding. When replacing the siding on the home, make sure to bring the wire back through the new siding for reattachment. Once this portion of the siding is complete, contact the Water Authority for a service technician to come out and reattach and recalibrate the remote.

Most customers have very consistent water usage from one quarter to the next. Sometimes summer lawn irrigation can produce some surprisingly high bills, especially for homes with automatic lawn sprinklers. If your bill seems high, check the reading on your meter to see if the meter was read correctly by the Water Authority. If the reading checks out, there are a number of tests that can be performed to try to find the cause of the additional usage. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, take a meter reading before a cycle and after a cycle to see how much water is used each time your sprinkler system runs. To see if something within the home is "stealing" water, take a meter reading before you go to bed at night, and then read it when you get up in the morning. If there was water used while you were sleeping, there is a good chance that something is leaking somewhere. The two main culprits for unintended water consumption within the home are toilets and water softeners. If the flapper valve within the toilet tank is leaking water into the toilet bowl, the tank will periodically have to fill to replace the lost water. This type of situation could go undetected for quite a while resulting in a high water bill for the customer. Water softeners periodically backwash themselves with fresh water to regenerate. Sometimes the backwash valve can get stuck in the open position causing water to be continuously wasted to the sewer system. This is a situation that very often goes undetected because there is little associated noise created other than a soft trickling sound in the sewer pipe. This can result in a lot of water being wasted and some really high bills. If you find this to be happening in your home, turn the feed to the softener off and bypass if possible, and get the unit repaired immediately.

A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is a preventative measure issued to protect the health of the community from water borne infectious agents. A Boil Water Advisory is issued only after careful consideration among representatives from public health, regulatory agencies and municipal departments. A Boil Water Advisory does not necessarily mean that a contaminant has been found to have entered the drinking water supply, in fact, most BWA's are initiated as precautionary measures only.

Create a supply of water for cooking, drinking and tooth brushing.

   1. Bring the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Timing starts when the water starts to bubble.

   2. Cool the water then place in clean containers for use or refrigerate.

Hot soapy water can be used for dishwashing and kitchen / bathroom surface cleaning. As a precaution, add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon.

Laundry water does not need to be treated. Unless otherwise noted, water for showering does not need to be treated.

If the water is not safe for drinking because of germs (bacteria, viruses or parasites), good hand washing with soap and water should be followed up with hand disinfection with alcohol-based disinfectant.

The CPWA charges a quarterly basic service charge to all customers.  This charge is separate from usage charges and is a fixed charge based on meter size.  The charge covers costs that are the same or similar for all customers, including the cost of eventual meter replacement, the cost of customer billing and repayment of debt on infrastructure.

Most of the water meters in the CPWA system have leak detection built in.  Every 15 minutes, the meter determines whether there was water use within that interval. 

If the meter sees usage in at least half of the 96 15-minute intervals in a 24-hour period, it will indicate an intermittent leak.  The most common cause of this is a toilet that is slowly leaking water through the flapper in the bottom of toilet tank, causing the toilet tank to refill periodically.

If the meter sees usage in every 15-minute interval in a 24-hour period, it will indicate a continuous leak.  Common causes are leaks in irrigation systems, water softeners stuck in backwash, or slow drips in faucets.

The national average for water consumption for a single person is 80-100 gallons per day.  This number drops a little as more people are added to the household, as some water-consuming tasks remain constant, regardless of the number of people (lawn watering for instance).  The average quarterly bill of all residential customers on the CPWA system is around 20,000 gallons. 

The CPWA delivers water to its customers from a number of different sources, so the answer is not the same for every customer.  Generally speaking, customers south of Route 146, and all customers in Rexford, receive water from groundwater sources that are high in hardness.  The hardness is typically around 290 mg/l, or 17 grains/gallon.  High hardness can cause issues with calcium deposits on glassware, flatware, shower doors, furnace humidifiers, fixtures, etc.  Customers in this area may choose to install a water softener to alleviate these issues. 

Customers north of Ushers Road receive most, or all of their water from our connection to the Saratoga County Water Authority.  This water is extremely soft and a water softener should not be needed.

Customers in the section of the system between Route 146 and Ushers Road may see some varying level of hardness, as both groundwater and surface water sources can converge in this area.  If you regularly notice hard water issues within the home, consideration could be given to installing a water softener.

If you are in an area where the hardness level may be questionable, you can bring a sample of your water to the CPWA office in a clean container (a bottled water bottle is always a good one) for hardness testing by our treatment plant staff.