Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the pH of City of Aurora tap water?
- The pH of City of Aurora tap water on average is 9.1 with an average range of 8.9 - 9.2.
- Does COA fluoridate the drinking water?
- What is the level of fluoride in COA drinking water?
- The fluoride concentration in COA drinking water is 1 mg/L (ppm) and varies within the optimal range of 0.9 to 1.2 mg/L (ppm) as regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- What is the level of lead in COA tap water?
The most current test results show that COA tap water is in compliance with the USEPA Lead and Copper Rule. The lead action level is 15 ug/L (ppb); the level of lead in Aurora’s tap water as compared to the action level is 14.2 ug/L (ppb).
Not all tap water in Aurora contains lead. Where lead is present in pipes and soldered connections, the lead may dissolve into the water while the water is not moving, generally overnight or at other times when the water supply is not used for several hours. It is possible that the lead level in tap water at your home may be higher than in other homes in the community as a result of materials used in your home’s plumbing. If you are concerned about elevated lead levels in your home’s water, simply flush your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using the tap water for drinking or cooking.
Additional information is available from the USEPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791.
- How can I have my tap water tested for lead?
The following laboratories may be contacted for assistance with this type of testing:
- First Environmental Laboratories (630) 778-1200.
- Underwriter’s Laboratory, Inc. (800) 332-4345.
- Environmental Monitoring Technologies, Inc. (800) 246-0663.
- I have a softener that is programmable. What is the hardness of COA tap water?
- 7-8 grains per gallon (120 mg/L - 137 mg/L)
- Do I need a water softener in Aurora?
In general, a water softener is not needed to further soften COA tap water, however this is an individual decision. A water softener can further reduce the formation of scale (calcium and magnesium deposits) in your hot water system and make washing easier. COA tap water is comparable in hardness to Lake Michigan water.
Other educational considerations regarding softeners and soft water
Installing a water softener on the water line to the water heater only provides the benefits of minimizing scale formation in the hot water system, lessens soap usage in bathing and laundering, and requires less salt to regenerate the softener resin than would be required to soften all water entering the home. Also, by not softening the cold water, one avoids the increased sodium content in cold water, which is primarily used for drinking, cooking, and other consumptive purposes.
- What is the raw water source for the COA?
- Sources of water include surface water from the Fox River and water pumped from both deep and shallow wells. The blend is typically about 60 percent surface water and 40 percent well water, but that may vary.
- How can I obtain the Consumer Confidence Report (Annual Water Quality Report)?
- A copy of the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) can be obtained by calling the Water Production Division at (630) 256-3250. The CCR can also be downloaded and/or viewed online. For online reports, please see the right-hand column of any Water Production web page. The reports are PDFs and require a reader or plug-in capable of viewing PDF files.
- Is our water safe to drink?
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency has promulgated the National Primary Drinking Water Standards, which establish maximum contaminant levels for various contaminants in public water supplies. These standards, in essence, determine what constitutes “safe” drinking water. During the year 2011, the COA was in full compliance with these standards for the entire year.
- How can I obtain a city water hookup if I’m in an unincorporated area?
- A connection to the City’s water supply system can be made if water main piping is in place where the property is located. The Water Production Division, (630) 256-3250, can make a determination as to whether water main is readily available to the subject property location. If water main piping is available, then the subject property owner may be required to annex into the COA and pay all required water supply connection fees. If the property owner is not to be annexed into the COA, then the owner will be required to pay the applicable connection fees and will be charged double the normal water billing rate for water used. If the property is located outside COA corporate limits, please call the Development Services Team (DST) at (630) 256-3163 and schedule a meeting with city staff to determine annexation options. If property is within COA corporate limits, call the Division of Building Permits at (630) 256-3130 for permit requirements.
- How may I obtain information about city water pressure?
- Questions regarding city water pressure should be directed to the Water Production Division at (630) 256-3250.
- I’m having problems with low flow or pressure in certain parts of my home. What should I do?
- First, if possible, check with your neighbors to see whether they are experiencing similar problems. If they are, it’s possible there may be a problem with our system, such as a water main break, and we should be notified so that corrective action may be taken. If not, the problem may be in the plumbing system in your own home, especially if the problem occurs only in certain parts of your home. Water piping in older homes is susceptible to reduction in effective size due to internal scale buildup. If this happens, reduced flow or pressure at specific fixtures may be observed. Other possible causes may include partially plugged strainers or aerators. In such cases, if cleaning the strainer fails to correct the problem, a licensed plumber should be consulted.
- I have no water, low water pressure or my water has been turned off. What should I do?
- Contact the Water and Sewer Maintenance Division at (630) 256-3710 during normal working hours, and (630) 585-2845 at other times.
- I would like my water turned on. Whom should I contact?
- Contact the Water and Sewer Maintenance Division at (630) 256-3710 during normal working hours, and (630) 585-2845 at other times.
- My basement is flooded and/or my catch basin is backed up. What should I do?
- Contact the Water and Sewer Maintenance Division at (630) 256-3710 during normal working hours, and (630) 585-2845 at other times. If the basement is flooded as the result of a severe storm, the water may be contaminated. There may also be electrical hazards present if the water has submerged electrical fixtures in the basement (e.g. circuit breaker panel).
- Can I arrange for a tour of the Water Treatment Plant?
- Unfortunately, since the events of September 11, 2001, many public utility facilities, such as water and wastewater treatment plants, have discontinued the practice of providing tours. Such facilities are considered potential terrorist targets, and security has been increased to protect them. Therefore, tours of the Water Treatment Plant are not offered to the general public.
- How do I obtain information on the City’s backflow control program?
- The backflow control program is an annual inspection program under which certain COA water customers must obtain annual inspections. This is to ensure that their water system is free of cross-connections, which could provide an entry point for contamination. Common examples of such users include commercial buildings with hot water boilers or fire suppression systems, and users with permanently installed underground irrigation (sprinkler) systems. To obtain further information, please contact Daryl Devick, Assistant Director of Public Works, at (630) 256-3200.
Water Appearance and Aesthetic Quality
- Water Hardness
The effects of water hardness are generally internal to the residence; examples are mineral deposits in the faucet aerator or in drawn samples from the tap, spotting of glassware, or scale build-up in various locations.
Hardness minerals such as calcium and magnesium remain dissolved in cold water, but become insoluble or show up as a solid material when water is heated, precipitating in the hot water system.
The following actions can assist in minimizing or alleviating water hardness issues: drain and flush water heater regularly; do not overheat water, maintain hot water temperature between 125 and 130 degrees F; replace water heater if it is older; consider the use of a water softener.
- Staining of fixtures or toilets
Common types of stains that may be attributed to water quality include blue-green (copper), rust (iron), and black (manganese). Normally, City of Aurora tap water will not cause staining resulting from copper or manganese.
Rust staining is usually caused by iron from internal plumbing that is older or heavily corroded. Iron deposits found in water heaters may also contribute to staining. Normally, City of Aurora tap water will not cause iron staining.
Pink or black stains in shower areas or toilets are usually caused by microbiological growth and should be controlled by proper cleaning.
- Rusty and/or discolored water
Identify if problem is occurring in cold or hot water.
- If rusty water appears in the cold water only, flush cold water internally until water clears. If problem persists, contact the City of Aurora Water Production Division at (630) 256-3250.
- If rusty water appears in the hot water only, it may be from rusty cold water that filled the water heater while using hot water simultaneously when cold supply was discolored. Or, accumulated rust sediment in the water heater is coming through but cold water is clear. In either case it may be necessary to drain and/or flush water heater if problem continues.
- Stained laundry due to rusty water
The likely cause of this situation is fire hydrant usage in the nearby area from firefighting or hydrant flushing, whereby increased flow scours rust/iron deposits in the water main, discoloring the water.
If you experience this situation, keep laundry wet and rewash with a rust remover laundry supplement. You may also contact the City of Aurora Water Production Division at (630) 256-3250 to request a similar product.
If rusty water occurs at your residence, perform internal flushing of cold water and avoid use of the hot water until the cold water is running clear.
- Taste and Odor (T&O)
Taste and Odor problems that may typically be detected by consumers are related to seasonal events, localized degraded water quality, chlorinous taste and odor, or internal problems. Determine if problem is noticed in cold water, hot water or both and in which faucets. A problem that is detected in multiple faucets, both cold and hot, is likely an external problem, i.e. originating in the water entering the residence. Conversely, issues that can be internal to the residence include ice cube odors and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg) odor originating from the hot water system.
Seasonal T & O events: Likely descriptions are that the water smells earthy, musty, river-like, grassy, or other “natural” descriptors.
- These types of odors are caused by seasonal changes of water quality in the Fox River due to the presence of naturally occurring compounds that impart different odors to the water. This affects the aesthetic quality of the water only. The water is completely safe for human consumption. The water treatment process is continually adjusted to minimize T & O effects to the drinking water supply.
- Storing tap water in a closed glass container in the refrigerator will help improve the taste and odor of the water.
Localized degraded water quality: May result from low flow/usage in the area or high water age where the chlorine residual has greatly dissipated. This is likely to be the cause when T & O complaints have not been reported in other areas. Localized flushing will be scheduled to move fresh water into the affected area, which will improve the aesthetic water quality.
Internal odor issues: Rotten egg odor, ice cube odor, sewage smell, etc.
- Rotten egg odor: Occasionally a customer will experience a rotten egg odor in the hot water. Sulfur-reducing bacteria can create hydrogen sulfide, causing the odor. This usually indicates a problem with the water heater; consult a plumber for assistance.
- Ice cube odors and cubes causing unpleasant taste in water: Ice cubes can take on odors from the freezer/freezer contents. Also, harmless bacteria can grow in the icemaker water line and cause odors. “Freezer smell” and “off flavors” are not harmful and can be lessened by cleaning and defrosting the freezer and ice cube trays.
- Sewage-like odor: This type of odor usually emanates from the drain of the water fixture. Household plumbing systems sometimes give off odors due to biological growths, dry P-traps, etc. This can be verified by performing the following steps:
- Run the cold water for 30 seconds.
- Run water into a clean glass.
- Smell the poured water while standing away from the sink drain.
The water should not have any unusual or sewage-like odor. Pouring some household bleach into the drain will help neutralize odor-causing material. If odor persists, consult a plumber.