Frequently Asked Questions

1. I have discolored water in my house. Is it safe and why is it discolored?

Yes, the water is safe. The substance you see is manganese, which is a natural precipitant of treated water and normally adheres to the sides and bottom of the water main. When the pressure and/or flow of the water changes, the manganese can scour off the walls of the main water line and get into your home or business. Manganese is a natural mineral and is not harmful. Discolored water happens when a water main is bumped or moved, as in construction, or when there is a change in the pressure and/or flow within the pipe, such as what happens when a fire hydrant is opened, a valve is operated or a main is broken.

2. What can I do about the discolored water?

Discolored water can be caused by many factors, i.e., construction in the area, lightning strikes, operation of a fire hydrant, natural ground movement, and adding additional pumping capacity to the water system. Because most of these factors cannot be anticipated or controlled by Milltown-Washburn Water, it is necessary to address the situation after it has happened.

Determine if the discoloration is in your hot water or you cold water. If only your hot water is affected the problem most likely is in your hot water heater and you will have to address it as a maintenance issue.

If you cold water is affected use as little hot water as possible to keep the discoloration out of your hot water tank.

If your water is just slightly discolored (the color of a brown paper bag or lighted), open all and only your cold water taps and let them run 5-6 minutes.

Flush your toilets 2-3 times.

If the initial cold water flush does not clear up the problem, wait about an hour and repeat flushing. This amount of water should not affect your water bill.

If the problem persists, DO NOT hesitate to call Milltown-Washburn Water, and we will send someone out.

DO NOT wash laundry in discolored water, it will discolor light clothes. If your water becomes discolored during a laundry in cycle, keep the laundry damp until the water clears. Rewash the clothes, DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH.

3. What can I do about milky or cloudy water?

Sometimes when a repair is made to a water main, or a homeowner's water service, air can become trapped in the lines. Because the lines are under pressure, the trapped air becomes suspended in the water. The result is water that is saturated with air, and looks milky when put into a clear glass. In some cased the water system staff will purge the air out of the line through a fire hydrant, but in most cases it clears up on its own. To clear this up, you can generally let your faucet run for five minutes or so, and it will run clear. This is not enough water to affect your water usage on your bill.

4. There are colored markings all over my yard and in the road. What's going on?

Arkansas state law requires anyone making an excavation to notify owners of underground utilities of their intent to dig in a specific location. The white lines are the area of the intended excavation and colored lines are the location of underground utilities. You may want to visit the Arkansas One Call Home Page for more details.

5. There was a main break and my water was off. Do I need to boil my water now?

It is not always necessary to issue a Boil Order every time the water is turned off. There are several factors that are considered before a Boil Order is issued. If it is determined a "Boil Order" is required you will be notified either by a door hanger, a phone call and additionally the media will be notified for broadcast.

6. Why did you turn off the water in my neighborhood without telling us?

Keeping our customers informed is a priority with Milltown-Washburn Water. If Milltown-Washburn Water has a planned project that requires the water to be off, every effort will be made to notify our customers prior to the shutdown if a current phone number is on file.

However, many times there are spontaneous breaks or breaks caused by contractors hitting the water lines. In those emergency situations we will respond as rapidly as possible to get the water shut off, make repairs and get the water back on. Even in an emergency we will make every effort to keep out customers informed.

7. My water meter is hard to turn off and on. Can you fix it so I can turn it off and on easily?

The valve on the water meter is for use by Milltown-Washburn personnel. If we inspect the meter and find the shutoff valve operates to our satisfaction it will be left as is. The Arkansas Health Department Plumbing Code requires the customer to have a shutoff valve outside the meter box that will shut off the water to the entire structure in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to locate your shutoff valve, be sure it is in good operating condition and mark it so it is easily operated in case of an emergency.

8. You tore up my yard working on the water lines. What are you going to do about it?

When it is necessary to excavate on your property Milltown-Washburn Water will make every effort to return the site to the condition we found it. Depending on the time of year this can take several weeks if sod and plant material is not available at the time of the initial excavation or the area is too wet for equipment at the time.

9. There was nothing wrong with my water meter. Why did you suddenly come out and change it?

Meters, like other equipment, age with time. We change out meters to ensure accurate use of the meter.

10. If the leak is across the road or the neighbor across the road ordered a new meter, why are you digging in my yard?

Water is delivered to your neighborhood by a water main system. Generally a road will have only one main running down it. To get the water to the customers on the opposite side of the street the main will need to be accessed and a SERVICErun underground from one side of the road to the other. The main is probably on your side of the street and we have to dig in your yard to tap into the main for the service line.

11. Will Milltown-Washburn's leaks cause my bill to be high?

Leaks on mains, services on the road side of the meter, valves, and fire hydrants will not affect your bill. Milltown-Washburn takes care of any problems up to the meter and from the meter to the house is the customer's responsibility. If the leak is inside the meter box it could have an effect on your consumption and if that is the case Milltown-Washburn will adjust your water bill.

12. I need to dig and I know there are underground utilities in my area, who do I call?

You need to contact Arkansas One Call at 1-800-482-8998 or They will notify all underground utilities in your area for you and tell you the proper procedure.