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Why did some Guelphites have brown water this weekend?

The discoloured water was harmless if ingested
A glass of water from a Guelph tap posted on Twitter Saturday.

Some residents in Guelph were muddled at the sight of brown water pouring out from their faucets this weekend when they turned on the taps.

The reason for the discoloured water can be chalked up to a larger water main break on Essex Street between Bristol Street and Birmingham Street.

The water main break, which can be a regular occurrence in the winter months, occurred Saturday afternoon.

Mike Taylor, manager of operations for water services with the City Of Guelph, said there is no need to be alarmed when events like this happen.

“Due to our pipe materials in the ground, the Ductile iron and cast iron pipe, there's harmless materials that can get dislodged from the pipe and with reserve flows it can move around in the system,” said Taylor. “So, there is a correlation between events such as this.”

While slightly unsightly, Taylor stressed the discoloured water is harmless to ingest. 

As part of the response, the city is required to categorize the main break as per the regulations in Ontario.

“With that categorization, our follow-up response is flushing of the water mains and taking back bacterial logical samples and sending it to the lab, that’s a required response,” said Taylor.

“We treat that as discoloured water, and there was a slight reduction of pressure and we can have reverse flow events, and due to the type of pipes in there and the harmless material that can dislodge from the pipe wall can be moved through the pipe,” said Taylor.

The water main break was repaired in a matter of hours.

The City of Guelph will get results back from the lab shortly.


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Daniel Caudle

About the Author: Daniel Caudle

Daniel Caudle is a journalist who covers Guelph and area
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