Discolored Water

Yellow, Orange, Reddish or Brown Water

This problem is sometimes seen first thing in the morning, or after periods of lower water use. It is also seen at seldom-used faucets. The water should clear after flushing the faucet briefly. The cause is most likely galvanized iron plumbing in the building. It does not indicate that the plumbing is about to fail or that it needs to be replaced, unless there is also a noticeable reduction in water pressure.

If this is only occurring with hot water, flushing the hot water tank may help by clearing out the sediment in the bottom of the tank. Hot water increases the rate of corrosion in plumbing. You may want to consult a plumber for safety precautions.

Sudden Discolored Water

If the discoloration is sudden, there may be some activity that has disturbed the direction or rate of flow in the City water main, such as use of a fire hydrant or a water main valve in your vicinity. Discolored water comes from internal pipe rust and sediment getting stirred up. When this happens the water is still safe. However, the water may be unappealing, so we recommend that you wait until it clears before drinking it.

Avoid running hot water if the cold water is still discolored. This will minimize filling the hot water tank with turbid water. If you are washing clothes at the time, it is better to stop the cycle while it is full and wait until clean water is available to finish. If you allow the water to empty from the washing machine and go into the spin cycle it is more likely to cause permanent staining to the laundry items.


Sometimes water lines (both our lines and your lines) can form iron deposits on the inside of the wall of the pipe. Most often this does not cause a problem. However, changes in water pressure caused by construction activity, a water line being temporarily shut down, or the use of fire hydrants can cause these deposits to break loose and dissolve in the water, resulting in discoloration. While the rusty looking water is safe; it just doesn't look appealing, doesn't taste very good, and isn't very good for washing clothes.

Gallatin Public Utilities routinely flushes our water mains to help remove these deposits and this can sometimes cause temporary discoloration. Although unpleasant, it is temporary and not harmful. Our service technicians flushing the hydrants can eliminate most of the discolored water through fire hydrants


The water should clear on its own. Try running the cold water for a few minutes to see if it is clearing or still discolored. If the water does not clear, let the water sit for one to two hours. Then run cold water for a few minutes in your bathtub or shower. If your home is located on a dead-end line, it may take longer to clear up. If the discolored water persists more than 24 hours please call the Gallatin Water Treatment Plant at 615-452-5010. This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water, it does not affect the water quality.