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Yellow water causing stir

  • ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS A clear bottle of water sits in contrast next to a coffee pot of yellow water this morning in Tamaqua. An automated phone message from the Tamaqua Water Authority states it is safe to drink.
    ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS A clear bottle of water sits in contrast next to a coffee pot of yellow water this morning in Tamaqua. An automated phone message from the Tamaqua Water Authority states it is safe to drink.
Published January 30. 2013 05:03PM

Many Tamaqua residents are seeing yellow or discolored water coming from their sink or bath faucets.

Tamaqua Public Works director Rob Jones spoke about the discoloration with the TIMES NEWS this morning and noted the higher iron contents are caused whenever there is work done on the borough's water lines, most of which date back 100 years or more.

"Iron naturally occurs in water and is considered to be a secondary contaminant," said Jones. "The current levels, even though higher than Tamaqua's normal, are well below DEP standards. It is not harmful. The Tamaqua Area Water Authority has notified affected residents and businesses via the borough's one call system and is working to have the discoloration cleared up by later today. The water is safe to drink and does not need to be boiled."

According to Internet traffic and numerous phone calls to a TIMES NEWS reporter last night, the largest number of residents affected by the discolored water involve the North Ward, Dutch Hill and East End sections; as well as areas in between.

Not knowing why their water was yellow or discolored or if it was safe to drink, many Tamaqua residents turned to the Internet (such as social media and news media sites) for answers. The majority of Internet rumors stated the water might have been from a water main break, while others claimed they thought it was their pipes. A number of residents, whose water was not discolored, added that their water tasted "different."

Police scanner traffic around 10 p.m. last night stated the discoloration might have been caused after Tamaqua Water Authority workers made a valve adjustment earlier in the day. This information caused an even bigger commotion on the Internet (mainly Facebook) as residents stated their disappointment as to why they were not informed prior to the work.

Around 8:15 a.m. today, the Tamaqua Water Authority used the borough's automated phone system to pass on information regarding the discolored water.

The message read, "There is not a water boil advisory in effect. Some customers are experiencing a discoloration or yellowing of their water. This is due to a higher iron content. The higher level is still below DEP's mandated level. Your water is safe to drink."

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