Periodically, customers may face issues with their water. Some may see discolored water, smell a foul odor, or experience water pressure issues. These common issues are usually fairly harmless from a health perspective. Before contacting PWP, try these simple tips that may help.

Water Glass

Discoloration Issue Caused By Pipes

This issue is almost universally the result of rust - iron oxide coming from iron pipes. Old iron pipes are very common in Pasadena and will rust over time. The key to understanding more about your discolored water is figuring out if the discolored water is coming from PWP's rusty pipes or yours:

Step 1: Determine if the discoloration is coming from only one faucet or all the faucets in your home. If it is only one faucet, the issue is within the iron pipes in your home.

Step 2: If the discoloration is occurring in water from all of your faucets, check the front hose bib outside your home. (Your service line connects from PWP's water main to your home. The outside faucet nearest to the meter should be your front hose bib.) If the water from the front hose bib is clear, the problem is within your interior plumbing. The owner of the home or landlord will be responsible for replacing the iron pipes.

Step 3: If the water is discolored from the front hose bib, it is from one of PWP's iron pipes and may be due to a temporary disruption in flow. It will usually settle out over several hours, but if it persists into the next day, contact Customer Service (7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday-Friday): 626.744.4005 or Water Dispatch (after hours): 626.744.4138.

If the issue is due to rust within our own infrastructure, we will most likely be aware of the problem, as several customers may have called to report it. PWP will take steps to restore your water to its normal appearance:

  • We will investigate the area for instances that may have knocked the rust loose, such as construction activity or gate valve exercising.
  • Once the activity that caused the discoloration is found, PWP will take all necessary action to solve the problem.

Foul Odors

PWP’s water comes from groundwater wells, imported water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and purchased water from neighboring water agencies. Homeowners sometimes experience distinctive odors or taste in their household water. This can be due to the different mineral content of the water sources discussed above, by how the water is treated or by the plumbing inside your home imparting a metallic taste.

This guide provides a few general recommendations in regards to some common causes of household water odors:

  • Some people are sensitive to the taste and smell of chlorine and chloramine. You may chill water overnight in a glass container in the refrigerator, which helps to dissipate the chlorine compounds.
  • Adding lemon or lime slices to refrigerated water may result in pleasant tasting water.
  • Charcoal filters are also very effective at removing chlorine and chloramine. If you choose to use a filter, follow the operating and maintenance instructions very carefully. An improperly installed and/or maintained filter can adversely affect the water quality.
  • If you only experience the smell when using your hot tap, it may be a chemical reaction occurring inside your hot water heater, and not a problem with the water supply.
  • The issue may not be the water at all and could be from a rotten egg odor of hydrogen sulfide coming up from the plumbing trap that is located underneath the sink. To assess this:
    • Fill a cup (ceramic or glass, not plastic) from the faucet with the worst smell or taste. Take it outside the house or apartment, away from the sink. Smell or taste the water.
    • If the smell is not present outside and only by the faucet, the odor is most likely coming from the plumbing trap located underneath the sink. Pour some chlorine bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice into the drain, let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes. Then flush it for 5 minutes or so with water.
    • If there is a foul odor or taste when you smell or taste the water away from the sink, contact Water Quality Manager at 626.744.3704.

Water Pressure

Temporary low pressure can be caused by heavy water use in your area such as a great deal of lawn watering, a water main break, fighting a nearby fire or by clogged fixtures. Reduction in pressure could also be due to your home being near one of PWP's pressure reducing stations.  The City maintains pressures well above the State's minimum requirements but can vary from home to home.

Check to see if all outlets on the property have low water pressure. If only a few do, the problem is likely to be an internal plumbing issue. If the water flow from one fixture appears low then it is likely a clogged aerator.  Carefully unscrew the aerator and remove the screen filter.  Overtime the filter may be clogged with minerals and sand.  Tap the filter lightly or use a pin to push the particles out of the filter.  The fixture manufacturer or a local hardware store may carry replacement screen filters.  Re-insert the filter and aerator, and turn on the fixture to verify if the flow has increased.

If all of the outlets are experiencing low water pressure, check if they have a pressure regulator. Many houses have a pressure regulator at the front where the service line enters the house, typically by the front hose bib. If there is no pressure regulator and the pressure at the front hose bib is low, please contact PWP.

Low pressure is more than just a nuisance. The water system depends on pressure to keep out any contamination. If the pressure drops, the possibility of pollution entering the drinking water increases. Report any permanent drop in water pressure to PWP by calling the water emergency hotline at 626.744.4138.

Water Shut-Off

The water shut-off valve is generally found where the water supply enters the house. Contact PWP to turn off your water valve. If this is an emergency, please call the Water Emergency Hotline at 626.744.4138.