Excess iron to blame for yellow-tinted drinking water in some New Hanover communities

Excess iron to blame for yellow-tinted drinking water in some New Hanover communities

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Cape Fear Public Utility Authority customers who get their water from the Richardson Water Treatment Plant may have noticed a yellow tint to their drinking water.

CFPUA says the discoloration is caused by iron, which naturally occurs in ground water. While it may look off, officials say the water does not pose a health threat.

"For the people that have this happening in their water, the average level of iron has been 1.45 milligrams per liter (mg/L),” said Vaughn Hagerty, Public Information Officer for CFPUA. “The state of North Carolina has set the advisory of 2.5 (mg/L) for the most susceptible people, like babies or elderly, so we’ve been consistently below that level.”

There will be system flushing in the affected areas to try and resolve the temporary discoloration.

“The iron is there because it’s natural, but also because of the dry hot weather we’ve been having,” Hagerty explained. “We’ve seen an increased demand on our system and because of that, we’ve needed to tap into shallower wells and some of those wells can have a slightly higher iron content.”

Higher water use rates over the summer have put a strain on the filter membranes used at the plant. CFPUA had planned on replacing these filters next year, but now are reconsidering replacing them by next spring.

As temperatures cool and water demand slows down, this should prompt the Richardson Plant to stop using the water from the shallower wells.

If you have any concerns with your water contact the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.

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