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The water supply for Moscow comes from wells that are drilled in basalt which naturally contain iron and manganese. The iron and manganese can accumulate on the inside of customer and City pipes and, when water use is high, can dislodge from the pipe and make the water appear dirty. Dirty or discolored water can sometimes occur if we are working in the area or if the area is due for flushing. However, it can also occur due to issues within your home. The correct action to take depends on whether the issues is being experienced with the hot or cold water of your home.
If your water appears dirty or yellow when you turn on your cold water: Turn on the cold water in your bathtub or faucets to flush the dirty or discolored water out of the system. It should take 5-10 minutes to clear up. If it doesn't clear up, please call us at 208-882-3122 and we will have a licensed water operator help you further.
If your water appears dirty or yellow when you turn on your hot water: If the problem is only occurring when you turn on the hot water, it is likely that your hot water tank needs to be flushed. If you do not know how to flush the hot water tank yourself, we recommend contacting a plumber.
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The most common cause is a leak. Please check the toilets in your home or business to confirm that they are shutting off. Dye tablets are available for free in the Public Works and Services office (201 N. Main St.) that can be used to check for a leaky toilet. Also check the faucets in the home and look outside between the meter and the house for wet spots. If no apparent leaks or other issues are found, just give us a call at 208-882-3122.
Call the Moscow Water Department at 208-882-3122.
The City collects water samples each month and has the samples tested by a third-party laboratory to assure compliance with all water quality standards. The City releases this information in the annual Water Quality Report, which can be accessed online here: https://www.ci.moscow.id.us/462/Water-Quality-Reports
If your water pressure seems low, a pressure test will likely need to be performed. Please call the Water Department at 208-882-3122 to arrange a time for a licensed Water Operator to remove the water meter and complete the test. The water will need to be turned off for approximately 20 minutes while testing is completed. Be prepared to let us know if you have a water softener or other in-home water treatment system when you call. Such a system may be the source of a restriction or leak that could cause this issue.
The official start of Moscow's outdoor irrigation season is announced annually. To learn the date, call 208-882-3122.
Please refrain from irrigating until drier soils and low precipitation necessitate the application of additional water. When you do apply water to the landscaping at your residence or business, please observe the applicable City Ordinance to help conserve water. Thank you in advance!
During the irrigation season, sprinkler irrigation is only allowed between 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. Applying water with a hand-held automatic shut-off nozzle is allowed anytime. The use of a soaker hose or drip irrigation is not permitted outside the irrigation season. If you have new landscaping that needs to be watered outside of allowed watering times, you may apply for a variance by visiting the Environmental Services Department at 201 North Main Street or calling 208-883-7230.
Bulk water can be purchased at the City’s Water Filtration Facility (120 West A Street). You can also purchase bulk water from a fire hydrant near your project site with an approved backflow assembly. All bulk water purchases must be scheduled in advance and may take up to 72 hours for installation. Scheduling can be arranged by calling the Water Department at 208-882-3122.
Typically, your water meter will be near a property line adjacent to the street. If you do not know where your meter is and would like assistance locating it, please contact the Water Department by calling 208-882-3122.
Most homes have an internal water shut-off valve located where the water pipe enters the home. If the valve is rusted, it may be better to schedule a water shut-off with the Water Department.
The City of Moscow receives its water entirely from groundwater sources. This means that rather than being supplied with water from a lake or reservoir, we pump water from two main underground aquifer systems, the Wanapum Aquifer System and the Grande Ronde Aquifer System. Contrary to popular myth, aquifers are not underground lake or river systems. Rather, the water in the aquifer systems is located in the cracks, pores, and fissures of the basalt and sediment layers.
The Wanapum Aquifer System is the shallower aquifer system of the Palouse Basin and is found starting about 60 feet below the surface.
The Grande Ronde Aquifer System is the deeper aquifer system of the Palouse Basin and is generally found at depths below 300 feet. This system is the main source of water for the City of Moscow.
Irrigation systems connected to the City of Moscow's Public Drinking Water System require appropriate backflow protection. Moscow City Code Title 7, Chapter 9 requires that all irrigation systems, existing or new, must be equipped with an approved backflow prevention assembly and must be inspected and tested annually by a State of Idaho licensed backflow assembly tester.A backflow assembly installed on your system is necessary to help prevent contaminants from entering the public water supply through what is known as backflow condition. Backflow is defined as, "the flow, other than the intended direction of flow of any foreign liquids, gases, or substances into the distribution system of a public water supply."The protection of Moscow's water supply is of critical importance to both the City of Moscow and its citizens. To learn more about the City's Cross Connection Control Program please visit us here: https://www.ci.moscow.id.us/474/Cross-Connection-Control-Program-Backflo.
If you have more specific questions, please email Ty Thompson or call the Environmental Services Department at 208-883-7230.
Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. Moscow’s source water (from the wells) is neutral, meaning it is not acidic.
The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In homes with lead pipes that connect the home to the water main, also known as lead services lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water. Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and homes built before 1986. Among homes without lead service lines, the most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder.
The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) requires all community water systems to sample at locations that may be particularly susceptible to high lead or copper concentrations. The LCR establishes a tiering system for prioritizing sampling sites.
Moscow samples for compliance with the LCR every three years (see latest Annual Consumer Confidence report) at those prioritized sampling sites. The City of Moscow has never violated the LCR and will actively assist system customers that have a concern. Please call Kyle Steele, Environmental Services Manager, at 208-883-7230 for additional information.
The City does not add fluoride to the water we deliver to system customers. However, fluoride is naturally occurring in our source water and we sample to ensure that the concentration does not pose a health risk.
Water mains are sized to allow adequate and safe flows for fire protection. Water typically moves through the system at less than two miles per hour. This slow movement allows minerals, such as iron floc, to settle out and accumulate in pipes over time. The build-up can restrict water flow and contributes to corrosion and water color problems. Periodic flushing of water pipes removes the mineral deposits which helps maintain the distribution system and assures consistent, high quality water. In addition to removing this build-up, our flushing program allows the identification of any inefficiencies through the water system such as closed valves that might prevent us from distributing water at adequate pressures to all customers. Flushing also ensures fire hydrants will produce ample flow for fire protection services.
It may seem counterintuitive to waste water by flushing fire hydrants. However, it is necessary to periodically flush water through the distribution system in order to protect the quality of your drinking water. The amount and cost of water used in flushing is a small price compared to the benefits of water quality and maintenance of infrastructure. To minimize the loss of the water, our flushing program is designed to incorporate springtime irrigation use.
The City's Annual Water Quality Report can be viewed online by visiting: https://www.ci.moscow.id.us/462/Water-Quality-Reports