LADWP reports cloudy water in Watts clear again

The LADWP says they flushed 50 miles worth of pipe to make water in Watts run clear.
The LADWP says they flushed 50 miles worth of pipe to make water in Watts run clear. Photo by Xavier de Jauréguiberry via Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Friday that cloudy drinking water that had been flowing from taps in Watts earlier this year is no longer a problem.

“We regard this episode as being finished,” said Marty Adams, Water Operations Manager with the LADWP.

Adams and two other representatives from the department gave a report to the city council Friday at the behest of councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

They blamed the cloudy water on a buildup of manganese and iron in water pipes. They said the metals reacted with chlorine disinfectant, causing a brown discoloration. 

The department said it had flushed 50 miles of water line between Central Avenue and Alameda Street and Imperial Highway and 92nd Street. 

Adams said during most summers, water lines in the area are flushed when people open fire hydrants to escape the heat. He believes that this stopped because of concerns about the drought and water waste. 

As a result manganese and iron were allowed to collect at levels high enough to react with chlorine.

"Everyone with wells in the area have this same problem," said Adams. "It's almost like salt in ocean water, it's just there. 

Department officials said that manganese and iron levels in the water were well within acceptable levels. Testing for dangerous pathogens also came back negative. 

DWP said it plans on installing a new filtration system at its 99th Street facility to reduce the presence of manganese and iron.

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