Q: How would I be made aware of a problem in the town water supply?
A: Turners Falls Water Department keeps a close watch on your water supply system. If a problem were found all affected water users would be notified via our website, radio, television, and local newspapers.

Q: My water is occasionally discolored, is it safe to drink?
A. You can safely drink, cook, and bathe in this water. Although it may not be esthetically pleasing, it is safe. The discoloration may be caused by a number of situations due to iron pipe in the system.
1. Yellow color is from dissolved iron in the water
2. Red or brown color is caused by very small specks of iron. These may be caused by a quick change in water speed, or direction in a pipe. Such changes occur when there is a break in the system, flushing of hydrants, or during a fire. Please wait until the water clears before doing laundry.

Q: My water is sometimes cloudy, but it clears up. Can I drink it?
A: Yes. The cloudiness is caused by air being trapped in the water. The water is completely safe to drink and it clears up by itself usually very quickly.

Q. I have heard about chlorinating by-products caused by treatments with chlorine to kill germs in drinking water. Is it safe?
A. Due to treatment with chlorine there are small residuals of these trihalomehanes found. As long as they do not exceed the maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for these compounds, the water is completely safe to drink.

Q. Sometimes, especially during the summer my water may smell or taste funny. What causes this?
A. Ground water is usually not as affected as surface water with algae and other problems. Ground water is susceptible to concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, that smell like rotten eggs. These tastes and smells are usually not harmful, but please let your water supply people know if you encounter a strange taste or smell in your water.

Tips for Saving Water—Indoors and Outdoors

Homeowners and other water users are encouraged to follow these conservation tips and to adhere to any restrictions that may need to be put in place by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Turners Falls Water Department.

INDOORS- Don't let the water run while you brush your teeth or shave. Turn the faucet on briefly to rinse. Fix leaking faucets and toilets. Take a shower instead of a bath and save 30 gallons. Install a water-saving showerhead. Wash only full loads of laundry and limit dishwasher use to full loads.

OUTDOORS-Most lawns can survive extended dry periods without watering-they will turn brown but will revive once the rain returns. Water your lawn only as needed, no more than once or twice a week. The best time to water is early morning. Avoid mid-day to prevent high evaporation and sun-burned grass. Keep mowing blades sharp and high; mulch to keep roots cool and moist. Use shut-off nozzles on hoses and automatic shut-off devices on irrigation systems that prevent the system from operating during rainstorms.

During droughts or other emergencies, you may be asked to help by conserving water.

You'll be surprised at how much you can save without hardship right in your own home. Some of the economies you can practice at such times are:

* Take showers instead of baths - the usual bath requires 36 gal., the usual shower 25 gal.; 20 gal. is enough for a bath, 10 gal. is enough for a shower if you turn it off while you lather.
* Turn the water off while you're shaving - a running tap shave uses about 20 gal., and besides it will steam up your mirror.
* Have flushometer toilets reset to use 3½ instead of the normal 5 to 8 gal. per flush.
* Reset the float in your tank toilet to turn the water off at a lower level.
* Don't flush the toilet to dispose of cigarette ashes, soiled tissues, etc.
* Stopper your sink or use a dishpan when washing dishes; a running water wash uses about 30 gal. per meal.
* Don't leave the water running when you brush your teeth - turn it on only when you're actually using it.
* Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator - running it until cold will waste a gallon.
* Think before you turn the tap