‘Sharp Increase’ in Andover Water Use Brings Discoloration

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

What is being called “a sharp increase” in water usage is being blamed for rusty colored water in Andover.

Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan said sediment loosened by the extra flow poses no risk to public health. He explained officials noticed a 20 percent increase in pumping from the Water Treatment Plant during July compared to same month last year.

“Similar to when fire hydrants are flushed, the water velocity increases during peak demand, which causes sediment in the bottom of the water mains to become suspended,” a statement said. “This results in the discoloration residents are seeing in their taps. When the velocity slows down, the sediment settles, only reappearing during the next high demand period.”

Officials are seeing a trend of discolored water in the mornings, with clear tap water reported by the afternoon. Residents with discolored water later in the day may call the water department at 978-623-8860 for further review.

“During peak demand times, typically mornings, significant amounts of water are being drawn from town tanks to residences and businesses,” the statement assed. “Simultaneously, the water treatment plant is pumping water in order to refill the tanks.”