Discolored water is caused by naturally occurring iron and manganese in the ground water combining with the small amount of Sodium Hypochlorite (chlorine) we inject for disinfection. This chlorine "rusts" the iron and manganese molecules causing them to discolor and settle on the bottom of the distribution pipe. Occasionally during high use situations such as flushing or construction, these particles will become suspended in the water and subsequently cause discoloration. (The water is safe to drink as these are merely iron and manganese minerals that are always present in the water.) If you detect red or discolored water, turn on a single COLD water tap to flush any sediment out of your pipes. While red or discolored water is not a health concern, it can stain laundry
You probably are not too eager to drink water that smells like rotten eggs. However, the odor does not affect the sanitary quality of your water, and it is safe for drinking, cooking and bathing.
You can thank hydrogen sulfide gas for the foul odor. Sulfate, a form of sulfur, is a mineral that naturally occurs in soil and rock formations throughout Idaho. Because of this, hydrogen sulfide is present naturally in the groundwater that supplies water to our artesian wells. The water supply for Star comes from wells that are drilled in basalt which often contain sulfates. The sulfates are often converted to hydrogen sulfide in hot water heaters or other places where water may sit before it is used. This conversion is done by a harmless bacteria referred to as "sulfur reducing" bacteria and the side effect is the rotten egg smell. Even though the Star Sewer & Water District uses chlorine for disinfection, the rotten egg odor can occur in low use areas where the chlorine has dissipated.