Frequently Asked Questions

My water is cloudy. What causes this, and is it safe to drink?
Cloudy water is caused when dissolved gases in the source waters are released under atmospheric pressure and increased temperature. The gases present are mostly oxygen and carbon dioxide, and do not pose a threat to public health.  If left in a glass for a minute or so, the air will dissipate from the water, although drinking the water without letting the air escape is not harmful.
Why does my hot water smell like rotten eggs?
The most common cause of “smelly water” is a non-toxic sulfate reducing bacteria, scientifically known as Divibrio Sulfurcans. This bacteria creates the energy it needs to survive by converting sulfate (SO4) to the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas you smell in the water. When chlorine is added to the public water supply for disinfection purposes, these bacteria are destroyed, removing the odor associated with their presence. These bacteria can, however, under certain circumstances, reemerge within the water system inside the home. Long periods of no water movement, like a toilet that does not get used often, or a hot water tank that does not get “turned over” enough, can cause the chlorine to dissipate out of the water, creating an ideal environment for bacterial growth. This problem is even more prevalent in softened water containing sodium in place of calcium and magnesium. The added compounds of the salt to the water speed up the depletion of anode rods used to protect the inside of the tank from corrosive energies. Most new hot water tanks have these anode rods in them. The rapid depletion of the anode rod, or more precisely, the cathodic reactions that cause the depletion, create a release of hydrogen ions into the water which are then converted to hydrogen sulfide gas. There are three possible solutions to this problem. 1) Remove the anode rod from the hot water tank. 2) Increase the temperature inside the hot water tank to 140 degrees Fahrenheit which will kill the bacteria. 3)Chlorinate the hot water system.
I am re-siding my house and noticed the water meter's remote reader is attached to the existing siding. Do I need to have the Water Authority come out and remove it, or can I do it myself?
The remote can be removed from the siding by the homeowner by disconnecting the wire at the terminals and unscrewing the remote from the siding. When replacing the siding on the home, make sure to bring the wire back through the new siding for reattachment. Once this portion of the siding is complete, contact the Water Authority for a service technician to come out and reattach and recalibrate the remote.
My water bill seems unusually high. Is it possible that I used that much water?
Most customers have very consistent water usage from one quarter to the next. Sometimes summer lawn irrigation can produce some surprisingly high bills, especially for homes with automatic lawn sprinklers. If your bill seems high, check the reading on your meter to see if the meter was read correctly by the Water Authority. If the reading checks out, there are a number of tests that can be performed to try to find the cause of the additional usage. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, take a meter reading before a cycle and after a cycle to see how much water is used each time your sprinkler system runs. To see if something within the home is “stealing” water, take a meter reading before you go to bed at night, and then read it when you get up in the morning. If there was water used while you were sleeping, there is a good chance that something is leaking somewhere. The two main culprits for unintended water consumption within the home are toilets and water softeners. If the flapper valve within the toilet tank is leaking water into the toilet bowl, the tank will periodically have to fill to replace the lost water. This type of situation could go undetected for quite a while resulting in a high water bill for the customer. Water softeners periodically backwash themselves with fresh water to regenerate. Sometimes the backwash valve can get stuck in the open position causing water to be continuously wasted to the sewer system. This is a situation that very often goes undetected because there is little associated noise created other than a soft trickling sound in the sewer pipe. This can result in a lot of water being wasted and some really high bills. If you find this to be happening in your home, turn the feed to the softener off and bypass if possible, and get the unit repaired immediately.
A Boil Water Advisory has been issued for my area. What does it mean, and what should I do?
A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is a preventative measure issued to protect the health of the community from water borne infectious agents. A Boil Water Advisory is issued only after careful consideration among representatives from public health, regulatory agencies and municipal departments. A Boil Water Advisory does not necessarily mean that a contaminant has been found to have entered the drinking water supply, in fact, most BWA’s are initiated as precautionary measures only. Create a supply of water for cooking, drinking and tooth brushing.
1. Bring the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Timing starts when the water starts to bubble.
2. Cool the water then place in clean containers for use or refrigerate. Hot soapy water can be used for dishwashing and kitchen / bathroom surface cleaning. As a precaution, add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon. Laundry water does not need to be treated. Unless otherwise noted, water for showering does not need to be treated. If the water is not safe for drinking because of germs (bacteria, viruses or parasites), good hand washing with soap and water should be followed up with hand disinfection with alcohol-based disinfectant.
My water is discolored. What causes this, is it safe to drink, and what do I do to get rid of it?
Discolored water results when water traveling through the water mains reaches high enough velocities to stir the iron and manganese sediment lying in the bottom of the water mains. Water main breaks, fire fighting activities, and extremely high system demand are typical causes of discolored water. There are no health risks associated with this type of problem, as the particulate matter causing the discoloration is simply iron and manganese oxides, and are not harmful. If you experience this problem, the easiest way to eliminate the discolored water from your system is to run as many cold water faucets, including bath tubs, sinks, and outside spigots, as possible at the same time. This will create a high enough flow rate from the water main to your home to clear out any sediment which may have found its way into your service line. If the problem does not clear up within a few minutes, it is possible that the sediment in the water main has not settled out yet. In this case, wait an hour or so and try it again.
I have a question on my bill, who do I call?
For any billing information or questions on your meter reading, please contact Meg McGuire at 518.664.4611 Our municipal water customers receive a water bill for usage on a quarterly basis: January, April, July and October. A penalty is applied if the quarterly bill is not received by the applied due date. Any outstanding payments that are not received by November 1, will be applied to their January tax bill.  Payments can be made in person at the Town Clerk’s office or can be mailed to PO Box 700, Stillwater NY 12170. The Town Clerks office can not answer questions on your bill.
I have a fire hydrant on my front lawn, is snow removal necessary?
Yes. After a snowfall, remember to clear a three-foot path around fire hydrants near your home. If you are unable to do this please contact the Town of Stillwater Highway Department at 518.664.4611 for assistance. Landscaping or other obstructions must be a minimum of 10 feet clear around fire hydrants. 

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