Frequently Asked Questions

 
-          Where do I pay my water bill?
-          How can I have my water tested?
-          How can I have my water turned on?
-          Who should I contact about taste and odor in my water?
-          Who do I contact about an Industrial User Permit?
-          Who do I contact about broken water or sewer lines?
-          Why does the water have a chlorine taste or smell?
-          Why is my water cloudy?  It looks milky.
-          My water is suddenly rusty.  What should I do?  Who should I call?
-          Do I need a water softener if I am on City water?
-          Is bottled water safer or healthier to drink than tap water?
 
Where do I pay my water bill?
You can pay your water bill at the Municipal Annex Building in the tax and water billing office on the 2nd floor at 237 West Maple Avenue or you may make payments at our drive-thru on the side of the building.
  
Who can test my water?
City personnel perform water quality tests continuously. However, if you notice a drastic change in your water, have recently bought an older home, or have questions about your water, please contact City laboratory at 222-5133.
 
How do I get my water turned on?
You can get your water turned on by contacting the Tax and Water Billing Office at the Municipal Annex Building, 237 West Maple Avenue. or call 222-5100
 
Who should I contact about taste and odor in my water?
Taste and odor problems generally occur seasonally and arise primarily due to changing conditions in the City's reservoirs. Taste and odor problems generally occur together and different people usually notice them differently. If you encounter a taste or odor that you want investigated, you can contact City laboratory personnel at 222-5133.
 
Who do I contact about an Industrial User Permit?
Contact the City's Pretreatment Coordinator, Steve Haller at 222-5133, if you have any questions pertaining to an Industrial User Permit.
 
Who do I contact about broken water or sewer lines?
If you notice a water line break or sewer overflow or spill during a weekday between 7:00 AM and 4:00 PM, please notify the Water & Sewer Pipe Maintenance division at 222-5140...during Nights, Holidays or Weekends, please notify the Burlington Police Department at 229-3500.
 
Why does the water have a chlorine taste or smell?
Chlorine is added during the treatment process as a disinfectant to kill bacteria and prevent it from growing in the distribution system.   Chlorine is left in the water to maintain disinfection right to your tap.   If you want to reduce the chlorine content, fill a pitcher full of water and refrigerator overnight.  The chlorine content will dissipate.
 
Why is my water cloudy?  It looks milky.
Normally cloudiness is due to air dissolved in the water.  If you fill a glass of water in a clear glass and the water clears from the bottom up, it is dissolved air.  This is a natural phenomenon and is perfectly safe.  This occurs more frequently when the water is cold.  A strong chlorine smell does not always indicate too much chlorine. 
 
My water is suddenly rusty.  What should I do?  Who should I call?
If your cold water suddenly appears rusty, it is probably due to a work crew in the area.  They may be isolating an area to do emergency repairs, or opening an area hydrant.  This stirs up sediments in the water mains.  This will clear up all by itself within a couple of hours.  If, after several hours, or if a rusty condition in you cold water persists, call the Water Resources Laboratory at (336) 222-5133.
 
Do I need a water softener if I am on City water?

Although adding a water softener is an individual homeowner’s choice, we at the City of Burlington Water Resources feel it is unnecessary.  Water that is too soft makes it difficult to remove soap from your hands or detergent from your laundry and dishes.  Water that is softened can be aggressive to your plumbing and may cause your plumbing to rust.  Hard water can lead to excessive scaling of pipes and water fixtures.
 
Is bottled water safer or healthier to drink than tap water?
Not necessarily.  The safety of bottled water and tap water initially depends on the source of the water.  Monitoring and source protection, treatment and testing ultimately determine the quality of the finished product.  For the first time, the 1996 Authorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act requires that bottled water be monitored and tested in the same rigorous manner that tap water has been subject to for years.  Your tap water consistently meets drinking water standards, it is not necessary to use either bottled water of a home water treatment device to have safe water to drink.  Of note:  50% of bottled water manufacturers get their water from the same sources as municipal water departments.  Bottled water costs about 1,000 times more than tap water and most of that pays for product packaging and advertising because bottled water is not required to be date stamped, its quality can deteriorate over time.  Any bacteria in the water at the time of bottling can continue to grow.  

In recent years, the popularity of bottled water has increased dramatically.  There are approximately 700 brands of bottled water sold in the United States alone.  The most common kinds are spring water, mineral water, purified water, sparkling water, and well water.  Considered a food product, bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while tap water, a utility product, is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The re-authorized Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 requires that the FDA establish regulations for bottled water equivalent to those for tap water.  
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