Water – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the white particles coming from my tap?

White particles could be caused by several things. They are most likely either calcium carbonate deposits (scale), phosphate buildup that has been dislodged, or the result of a deteriorating hot water heater plastic “dip tube”. Calcium carbonate and phosphate scale shouldn’t be a major concern, as the Bay Area Water Treatment Plant treats the water so it does scale onto lead and copper to prevent metal from leeching into the water. An investigation would be needed to determine if it’s coming from the hot water heater.


What is the pink slime in my bathroom?

Pink slime is most likely coming from the air, not the water. Airborne bacteria, which causes pink slime, grows well on materials containing phosphorus or fatty substances (such as soap residue in your shower).

Ways to reduce the amount of pink slime that appears in your bathroom are:

  • Ventilate the room during and after a shower for at least 30 minutes
  • Use an after-shower spray or squeegee to remove soap residue in your shower and tub
  • Limit the amount of moisture and soap scum you leave on surfaces

The bad news is that it’s very hard to keep those pink, slimy rings from forming.  The good news is that they are generally harmless (unless you are in extremely poor health). The slime can be removed by spraying it with a vinegar, bleach, or bathroom cleaner, then scrubbing it away.


Why is there a black ring inside my toilet bowl and how do I get rid of it?

Microbes naturally occurring in the environment are getting stirred up into the air all the time and are landing on surfaces. Chlorine is added to your drinking water at a level to ensure minimal bacteriological growth, so the black toilet bowl ring is very often only found above the water level, not below.

The best way to combat the toilet bowl ring is to scrub the black ring and bowl with an antimicrobial cleaner.  Clean the toilet regularly. You may find once the main microbe problem is taken care of, less cleaning will be needed.  Better ventilation in the bathroom (if possible) may also help reduce any moisture issues.


My water has a film on it, what could it be?

This could be caused by plumbing work or water heater maintenance. If work has been done and plumbing wasn’t flushed completely, a residual soldering paste, liquid Teflon or PVC glue could be viewed as a film on the water. Flushing your plumbing should clear this up.  If you haven’t had any work done on your pipes/hot water heater and notice a skim, feel free to contact us.


Why does my water taste or smell funny?

Below are several possible answers which we hope will be helpful:

-Odors may be coming from your sink drain.  Turning your faucet on may displace sewer gas.  One way to determine if the smell is from the water or your drain is to get a clean glass and fill it with water.  Walk away from the room it was filled in and smell the water in the glass.

-As the temperature of the water rises in the summer, chlorine and other odors may be more noticeable.

-If you are a new customer of ours and were used to a different source (say, a private well), our water may taste strange to you due to our different source, treatment, and chemical addition.

-Taste and odors in the drinking water may be caused within home due to:

  • Old plumbing
  • Plastic containers creating a plastic taste if water is stored too long
  • New or fixed plumbing
  • Softeners or filters being used that are not properly maintained
  • Refrigerator filters for automatic ice makers that aren’t properly maintained
  • Garden hoses

If the problem persists please feel free to contact us.


Do I need to drink bottled water?

It is unnecessary to go to the extra expense of buying bottled water in order to have safe drinking water. To ensure quality, our water is tested on a regular basis and in some instances continuously. This regular testing ensures that the water meets the quality requirements set by the state of Michigan and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, water from the Bay Area Water Treatment Plant costs only a fraction of the cost of bottled water.


What causes discolored water?

Discolored water is often the result of rusting galvanized pipe in home plumbing systems. Sometimes, water mains may become scoured from firefighting activities, flushing, or a main break. Iron causes the discoloration; it is not normally a health risk. Water should clear up after running your faucets for a while.

If you have discolored water and does not clear up within 24 hours please feel free to contact us.


Do I need to use a “treatment” device (i.e.water filter) in my home or business?

The Bay Area Water Treatment Plant produces very high-quality water that has been filtered through membranes. The water we deliver to our customers is safe to drink as determined by EPA and EGLE standards. If our you wish to install filtration equipment, it is a matter of personal preference. We encourage those who choose to use on-site equipment to change the filter as often as the manufacturer recommends, because the filters are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. People with specific health concerns may wish to seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.


I’m thinking of Installing a water softener, is there anything special I need to know?

The Bay Area Water Treatment Plant’s water contains an average hardness of 102 mg/L as CaCO3, or 5.97 grains. We find this to be a good hardness level; it’s not so hard that it scales and plugs up plumbing, but it’s not so soft that it strips your plumbing. A majority of our customers do not use a water softener.  However, installing and using one is a personal preference.


What is used to disinfect the water?

Chlorine, in the form of sodium hypochlorite, is added to the water for disinfection. Chloramines are not used or added to our water.


Is it safe to drink water that contains chlorine?

Yes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established that it is safe to drink water with chlorine less than 4.0 mg/L. Tap water leaving the Plant is normally between 1.0-1.3 mg/L, well below the EPA’s health limits. It’s important to have chlorine in water because it ensures that harmful bacteria can’t live in the water.


Is it safe to drink the water if I’m immuno-compromised?

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons, such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. Environmental Protection Agency/Centers for Disease Control guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).