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Funky Smell In Your Drinking Water? Fall Is The Time To Flush Pipes


Once fall rolls around, municipal water consumption wanes. When water sits in pipes, it ages and that can affect the way it tastes and smells coming out of the tap.

The water that flows into homes and businesses in the Eugene metropolitan area comes from the McKenzie River, a pristine waterway. There are no waste water outfalls upriver and the watershed provides consistently high water quality.

So when area consumers smell or taste something awry in their drinking water, especially in Fall and Spring, environmental specialists suggest the problem may be localized.

Ray Leipold is the Water Supply and Treatment Supervisor with Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB.)

He says everyone should flush their systems-- starting with the outside hose bib-for up to 10 minutes. Then run all the indoor cold water faucets for 5 minutes. Then—and this is the kicker—clean the aerators.

“The aerator is the little screen that’s on the end of your taps in your bathrooms and kitchen sinks.” Leipold says.  “Many times you’ll see particles in there. You might see a pink staining bacteria or even mold.”

He says if any problems remain after flushing the pipes and cleaning the faucets, EWEB wants to know about it.

EWEB offers these pointers to water consumers:


Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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