GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 3, 2013

Water color no work of art in Lanesville

Langsford Street resident Judith Wonson said the water in her house has had a yellowish color for about two months.

She doesn’t drink the city-supplied water, but it’s caused other problems. Some of her shirts have turned pink, along with the bottom of her shower curtains.

She’s not alone.

A number of Lanesville area residents have raised longtime concerns, saying that their water is sometimes brown or yellow. And the Gloucester Department of Public Works has acknowledged fielding a handful of calls about off-color water in the city’s northernmost village.

Nearby Wishart Road resident David Bowling said he has had similar problems with sink and toilet water, with a brownish yellow discoloration for about two months.

Gloucester Public Works Director Mike Hale said the water is safe to drink — that the color is merely an aesthetic issue.

“Water color is considered secondary to water quality,” he said.

Hale noted that water color issues are nothing new to Gloucester, and myriad factors can and have caused discoloration in the past, from nearby construction to the condition of water pipes — both Gloucester’s water lines and their connections that carry the water into homes.

“It’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ problem,” Hale said, adding that water heater issues, how often water is used, what source the water is coming from, and the chemical processes used at the distribution and treatment plant are all part of the equation.

Hale said that, if there are problems, they tend to be localized. One resident may have perfectly clear water, while even a few houses down, the water might take on a brownish-yellow color, Hale said. Also, Hale said, water for seasonal residents may be discolored at first because it has been sitting in the pipes for so long, for example.

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