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Water FAQs

Q: Why does my water have an unpleasant odor?

A: If the unpleasant odor occurs in all your water faucets, chances are it’s coming from the main water supply.

Unpleasant odors often occur during the summer months when the river gets low and the water heats up.  This causes the smell of the chlorine to be more noticeable.  The water is still safe to use and if the water is placed in the refrigerator to cool, the smell will dissipate.

If the unpleasant odor occurs in only one fixture, it could be the pipe supplying the water or it could be an issue with the fixture.  Run the water for a few minutes.  If the odor does not go away, it could be an issue with the household plumbing system.


Q: Why is my water discolored?

A: If the water is discolored when running the hot water, it could be from the hot water heater.  Try flushing the hot water heater to remove the sediment that may have accumulated at the bottom.

Discolored water can appear after hydrant and mainline flushing maintenance, or valve turning.  When a hydrant is opened, there may be temporary incidences of discolored water while fine sediment particles are flushed out.  There is no health hazard associated with the discolored water.  Allow a few hours for discoloration to dissipate.  To verify water is clear, run your cold-water tap for a few minutes.


Q: Why do I suddenly have low/high water pressure?

A: If you have a pressure regulator it may be wearing out.  If you notice diminishing/no water pressure or high-water pressure, hammering or vibrating noises in your walls, it could be a sign that your pressure regulator is going bad.

Low water pressure could also be an indication of a faulty plumbing fixture or a leaking pipe.


Q: How can I tell if I have a leak?

A: Check your meter for movement.  Turn off the water in the house and make sure the dishwasher or washing machine is not running.  Watch the water meter.  If the dial moves, you most likely have a leak.

Check your toilet for water loss.  Put a couple drops of food coloring in the tank and wait 10-15 minutes.  If there is colored water in the bowl, you are losing water and may need to repair/replace the flapper seal in the tank. 

Check your statement.  If your water usage is out of line with how much water you typically use, give us a call and we’ll send a GAWSA representative to your house to check your meter.


Q: Who is responsible for repairing a leaking water line?

A: If the leak is between the meter and the house, repairs are the responsibility of the customer.  If the leak is from the meter to the mainline, GAWSA is responsible for the repairs.


Q: How much water can you really lose with a leaky toilet?

A: More than you might think!  Here's an easy way to check for water loss from your toilet: put a couple drops of food coloring in the back of the tank and wait 10-15 minutes.  If there is colored water in the bowl, you are losing water and may need to repair/replace the flapper seal in the tank.  See the illustration below to give you an idea of how much water you can lose with a leaky toilet or any other leaks.

The Facts on Leaks.pdf


Q: What is a backflow device and do I need one?

A: Backflow devices are mechanical devices designed to prevent the backflow of pollutants or contaminants from entering the safe drinking water system.

For example: you want to spray your lawn or garden with fertilizer, so you hook one end of the hose to the faucet at the house and the other end to the sprayer containing fertilizer.  If there is a sudden change in water pressure the fertilizer in the sprayer can be drawn into your homes water system.  A backflow device would keep this from happening.

If you have an irrigation system, swimming pool, hot tub, or your home is elevated above the water meter, you may need a backflow device. If you’re unsure, call GAWSA at 541-679-6451 and we’ll send out a representative to see if you need one.


Q: Do I need to have my backflow device tested?

A: Yes!  The state requires that backflows be tested annually.  If you have a backflow device, GAWSA will send you a reminder notice the month prior to when your test is due.  If you do not have your backflow device tested by the date noted on the notice, GAWSA will have it tested for you and the fee applied to your account.

List of Certified Backflow Testers.pdf


Q: Do you sell water in bulk?

A: Yes!  Water may be purchased in bulk at a price of .50 per 100 gallons, with a minimum charge of $23.00.  If you’re interested in bulk water, you’ll need to stop by GAWSA’s office and complete a Bulk Water Permit.  Permits are free unless you request a 3” hydrant meter, in which case, there is a $100 nonrefundable deposit.