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Brown Water

Possible water discoloration due to natural processes and is safe to consume


The City of Abilene Water Utilities Department has received calls from its customers regarding an unusual color of the drinking water including Hawley Water Supply customers. These calls have been from customers scattered throughout Abilene, Hawley and receiving water from either of the Grimes and/or Northeast Water Treatment Plants and could affect wholesale customers that receive treated water from the City of Abilene Public Water Supply. 

Laboratory analysis indicates a higher than normal level of iron and manganese in the drinking water.   The elevated levels of iron and manganese are due to natural processes occurring to some extent in two of Abilene’s water supply lakes: Hubbard Creek Reservoir and Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir. Those sources of raw water are being treated by the Grimes and/or Northeast Water Treatment Plants and subsequently provided to the affected customers.  Many utilities across the state occasionally have similar problems with higher than normal levels of iron and manganese in their water supply lakes.

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not enforce water quality standards for iron and manganese, these constituents in higher levels can affect the water’s appearance and taste. Iron and manganese do not pose a health risk to the public. At the current levels, these constituents may make the water less aesthetically pleasing by causing slightly colored water. It may also stain plumbing fixtures or laundry.  

Although your drinking water is safe to consume, we want the water to appear and taste as you would expect from Hawley Water Supply Corporation.  We also assure our water customers that all water treated by the Abilene Water Department receives complete treatment in accordance with state and federal regulations and meets the Primary Drinking Water Standards, as established by the EPA.

Corporation personnel are working diligently to resolve the problem. City of Abilene Water Department staff is selecting the best raw water quality source(s) and adjusting treatment processes to address the issue.

Should you notice an unusual color in your drinking water please try flushing your line for a few minutes. If flushing does not correct the problem then please contact the Water Department 24 hour emergency contact number at 325-537-9268.