Don’t Drink the Water!!

Posted by on January 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm :: 2 Comments

I came home on Tuesday afternoon for lunch, just like I do every weekday. When I got home on this particular day I washed my hands, just like I always do. While I was in the middle of this washing however I realized there was something odd about the water coming out of the tap-it was brownish orange. At first I thought I was imagining things so I turned on another sink-the same gross looking water came out. After I had tried the kitchen sink as well, with the same result, I called Jason in somewhat of a panic. He called Lehi City and they promised to send someone over shortly. They had received another report of the same thing just a few minutes previously somewhere else in our area and they were unsure whether these two reports were just the beginning of a larger problem.

Gross water

Gross water

At this point all the worst case scenarios went through my mind. What if we didn’t have useable running water for days? What would we do? Would we have to go stay at a hotel? What if we couldn’t drink our water, take showers, or wash our hands, clothes, and dishes. How would we get by? I was suddenly hit by the realization of just how much we rely on the conveniences we take for granted. Having running water is absolutely vital-what if all of a sudden we just didn’t have it anymore?

This made me think of the complete necessity of having a 72-hour kit. If there was a major emergency and our water system was compromised, and running to the store to grab some bottled water was out of the question, having a 72-hour kit could mean the deference between surviving and not.

Back to my story- we talked to the city water experts one more time and they said they would be at our house in about 15 minutes and that we should, in the mean time, turn on our water to see if this would flush the contaminants out a bit. We did this while we waited and by the time they arrived our water was looking much better. They examined it, took samples of it, and checked our neighbor’s water. They told us that dirt had probably gotten into our pipes from a contractor messing around with the lines in our area, a contractor that didn’t know what he was doing. They could find no traces of the contamination in our neighbor’s water. So they told us to turn on every sink and shower in our house to try to clean out our pipes and use all of the water in our hot water heater to flush out any sediment that may have settled to the bottom of it. They also said the water was safe to bath in and use-just not to drink.

In order to be sure our water was safe to drink we would have to wait two days for test results to come back. And with that they departed.

We were very grateful we could at least use our water for everything but drinking. It was a tremendous relief! But drinking bottled water did get kind of old over the next couple days. Jason and I always felt thirsty.

Our test results have since come back and our water is fine. Yeah!



Incidentally, we saved a sample of our gross water and although the particulates remained in solution for a whole day by the following day they had settled to the bottom forming a reddish brown sludge. It was not very appetizing.

Care for a drink?

Care for a drink?

Drink up!


  • zible says:

    What would a 72 hour kit do for the things you listed you need water for? It wouldn’t help with washing clothes, showering or washing one’s hands.

    Though really two of those can be done just as easy with muddy water with little problems, cause thats what soap is for in the first place 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    Not if that muddy water is full of chemical or microbiological contaminants. That’s like using urine to wash your hands after using the bathroom.

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