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Your Water FAQs

Leaks

What can I do if I suspect a leak?
How can I tell if I have a leaky toilet?
How do I fix a leaky toilet?
How do I fix a leaky faucet?
If I find I have a leak, how do I know if it is something I have to pay to fix or something the District will take care of?

Appearance & smell

What do I do when my water turns a rusty brown color?
Why is my water look cloudy and what do I do to get it to run clear again?
What do I do when my water smells like chlorine?
What do I do when my water smells like rotten eggs?

My Water

What does it mean when you say you are flushing lines?
How can I find my meter?
I don't understand "cubic feet." Why can't you measure my water in gallons?
How exactly do you measure my water use?
How do we hook up to your system?
If I report an emergency in the middle of the night, can you respond quickly?

Rates

What is the district doing to keep rates low?
Why are water rates so much cheaper in _____?
How much will water rates have to go up in the near future?
Why should "meter rates" go up when the meters are already paid for?
Does the (latest) rate increase mean the district is going to conduct an extensive upgrade to our system?
What state and federal regulation changes have caused water costs to increase?
What is the Safe Drinking Water Act and why is it causing water costs to go up?

Regulations & Quality

What State drinking water regulations must the District comply with and what water quality parameters are being tested for?
What kind of contaminants or chemicals are in my water?
Does the PUD add fluoride to the water?
What are you doing to protect us from chemical contamination?
How do you keep contaminants from getting in the water in the first place?
Should we be drinking bottled water?
How about home treatment devices I've seen advertised? Should I get one to offer additional protection for my family?

Leaks

What can I do if I suspect a leak?

Use your water meter to check for leaks

  1. Locate your meter.
  2. Turn off all water using appliances in the home.
  3. Check and record the current meter reading.
  4. Wait 15 minutes (overnight is better). Don't use any water.
  5. Read the meter again. If the reading has changed you have a leak.

How can I tell if I have a leaky toilet?

Place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Wait a few minutes. If color appears in bowl, you have a leak.

How do I fix a leaky toilet?

Click here for Instructions for fixing a leaky toilet

How do I fix a leaky faucet?

Click here for Instructions for fixing a leaky faucet

If I find I have a leak, how do I know if it is something I have to pay to fix or something the District will take care of?

We will repair any leaks in the portion of the water system we own, which in most cases ends at your side of the water meter that connects your home to our main. The service line to your home, as well as the plumbing in your home, is your responsibility. We will certainly help you diagnose a mysterious leak in your system and answer any questions you might have about how to get it fixed. Call our office for a leak detection pamphlet and help from our customer service department.


Appearance & smell

What do I do when my water turns a rusty brown color?

The manganese sediments that are stirred up in the water after hydrant use or flushing cause this discoloration. Run your outside hose bib or one cold water faucet (not hot) for 10-15 minutes. If the water does not clear after that period, call customer service.

Why does my water look cloudy and what do I do to get it to run clear again?

Cloudy water is caused by air bubbles in the water and it is completely harmless. This usually happens after the water main or customer service line has been repaired after a break. Run your outside hose bib or one cold water faucet (not hot) for 10-15 minutes. If the water does not clear after that period, call customer service at 779-7656.

What do I do when my water smells like chlorine?

The chlorine odor of tap water can be traced to the chlorine "residual," a low level of chlorine maintained in water to guard against bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which may be in water as it flows from the source to points of use. In the US, even treatment plants that use non-chlorine disinfection technologies are required to add chlorine to the water before it flows into the distribution system. The chlorine residual acts like a "body guard" for water in transit. As long as there is a residual level of chlorine, the consumer is reasonable protected from harmful microorganisms.

To eliminate chlorine, add lemon juice or allow an open container of water to sit for several hours.

What do I do when my water smells like rotten eggs?

Bacteria growing in your sink drain or hot water heater may cause odor. Naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide in your water supply may also cause this odor. To evaluate the cause, put a small amount of water in a narrow glass, step away from the sink, swirl the water around inside the glass, and smell it. If the water has no odor, the likely problem is bacteria in the sink drain. If the water does have an odor, it could be from your hot water heater. There is an element in your hot water heater designed to protect it from corrosion. Sometimes the element causes sulfide smell as it deteriorates over time. A licensed plumber may be able to evaluate this problem. If you rule out the drain and the water heater, and the odor is definitely coming from the tap water, contact customer service at 779-7656.


My Water

What does it mean when you say you are flushing lines?

When flushing water lines or mains an operator opens a blow off valve or water hydrant to flow water at a high rate to create enough velocity to strip sediment that collects on the inside of the piping walls.

How can I find my meter?

Meters are generally situated on your property corner near a road on what is called a utility easement to the property. Look for a rectangular lid to the meter box which is flush to the ground.

I don't understand "cubic feet." Why can't you measure my water in gallons?

We measure water in cubic feet because it is the standard measurement in our industry. It is easy to figure out your water use in gallons. One cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons, so just multiply the number of cubic feet listed on your bill by 7.48 and your answer will reflect the amount of water used in gallons.

How exactly do you measure my water use?

We measure your water use with a meter located near your property by the street. Our technicians regularly read the meter and you are billed accordingly. If you have a question about your water use, please contact us.

How do we hook up to your system?

Call the District office at (360) 779-7656 and we can answer specific questions you may have hooking up to our water system. We will also inspect the disconnection of your existing water service if you are switching from a well to our system.

If I report an emergency in the middle of the night, can you respond quickly?

Yes. When you dial 779-7656 to report a water emergency, leave a message which immediately pages the field crew who will respond as quickly as possible. If there is a dire emergency that may be a danger to you or others, please call 911.


Rates

What is the district doing to keep rates low?

  • Combining systems to achieve economies of scale.
  • Re-examining procedures to improve efficiencies without compromising quality.
  • Searching for lower cost suppliers.
  • Implementing cost saving technologies.
  • Promoting education and conservation measures to limit the need for new expensive source development.

Why are water rates so much cheaper in _____?

Water rates vary considerably throughout Western Washington.

Monthly costs for a family that uses 1000 cubic feet of water can range from $10 to $50. In general, the larger the system the cheaper it can supply water. Other factors such as the cost of the source of water, cost associated with paying for or upgrading water system facilities, water treatment costs, etc., cause variations in water rates. A water system may keep rates down by not conducting maintenance, not upgrading systems to make them more reliable, or not setting aside funds to replace outdated or aging facilities. That would put such a system in a "pay me now or pay me later" situation. A system that has a large number of industrial or commercial customers can usually charge their residential customers lower rates. Some municipalities use other sources of money to subsidize water rates while others divert money from water rates to other needs.

Many of the systems taken over by KPUD were in very poor condition. High maintenance and repair expenses increase costs. Most KPUD systems are small and some distance apart; factors which also increase costs of operation and water rates.

How much will water rates have to go up in the near future?

Rate increases in the next several years will be determined primarily by increased costs driven by factors such as new regulations, inflation (increasing cost of materials and labor) and adjustments in money set aside for system facilities refurbishment or replacement. The amount of additional expenses caused by new and more rigorous water quality rules will depend on the results of sampling. If extensive treatment is not required and drilling replacement wells is avoided, increases can be minimized. As federal regulations for water quality increase, the cost of service can be expected to follow the same trend.

The District is involved with all sorts of things such as conservation, monitoring, and ground water planning all around the County. Are we (the Kitsap PUD water system customers) paying for those sorts of things through our water bill?

Activities of the type mentioned are not funded by customer rates. The District has several countywide responsibilities that are funded through taxes and grants. These activities include:

  • Water conservation
  • Water resource education
  • Computer mapping water related information
  • Countywide collection of rainfall and surface, and groundwater resource data
  • Water resource development and study
  • Test well drilling program
  • Water related legislation liaison
  • Watershed Planning

Why should "meter rates" go up when the meters are already paid for?

"Meter rates" are more properly called "Basic Service Charge." They are not just associated with meters, but are designed to fund the fixed expenses of operating a water system. The Basic Service Charge covers the cost of billing, maintaining and operating water system facilities, other facilities related costs, operating water quality monitoring and treatment if necessary, as well as improvements. The Commodity Charge is based on variable costs such as electric power and treatment chemicals.

Does the (latest) rate increase mean the district is going to conduct an extensive upgrade to our system?

While the rate increase will help us fix problems within some systems, it will not provide for all desired system upgrades. System improvements are scheduled by priority and many of these improvements or enhancements will not be made until a later date when the need and resources coincide.

What state and federal regulation changes have caused water costs to increase?

The primary regulation that is causing costs to increase is the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The State and local governments have enacted and are continuing to propose increases in fees, penalties, and operational requirements, which add to the cost of service. Examples include:

  • Expansion of the utility tax
  • Permit processing construction review fee increases
  • Water system operating permits and plan review fee increases
  • Expanded water system operator certification and qualification requirements
  • Conditions, requirements, or necessary improvements to ensure safety of water supplies
  • Conservation Fees

The State Department of Ecology's (DOE) review process for new water right applications is a very lengthy and exhaustive process. Simple requests can take years of political and legal capital before action is taken. The majority of recent DOE decisions have been based on water right applications where health and safety were an issue. The inability of water systems to obtain water rights has resulted in resorting to more expensive alternatives (e.g., installing expensive treatment systems on old sources or using the cost reimbursement provision for priority water right processing).

What is the Safe Drinking Water Act and why is it causing water costs to go up?

The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed by Congress in response to serious contamination found in drinking water at many locations around the country. Congress, in 1986 and 1997, amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to mandate establishment of new regulations for safe drinking water quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is required to develop an extensive series of rules, which must be carried out by the States and organizations, which supply water to the public. Most of the new regulations involve testing water supplies for various potential contaminants and specification for treatment or other action if limits are exceeded. Testing, of course, raises costs to a limited extent, but if required, treatment and other mitigating actions can be very expensive. Should a well have to be abandoned, for example, the cost of drilling a new well can be very costly, and obtaining new water rights from the State can take many years or involve a very expensive cost reimbursement process.


Regulations & Quality

What State drinking water regulations must the District comply with and what water quality parameters are being tested for?

Volatile organic chemicals (VOC)-State regulations set Maximum Contamination Levels (MCLs) for 8 chemicals and monitoring requirements for 51 additional contaminants for systems serving less than 3,300 people.

Total Coliform- Public water systems are required to sample for total coliform on a monthly basis. Sampling must be conducted in accordance with a written plan. The number of samples required per month depends on the number of persons served. Systems that serve 25-1000 persons, for example, must take one sample per month. When a Total Coliform sample is positive, additional testing of the sample must be conducted for fecal coliform and E. coli and repeat samples must be taken. If the repeat sampling and testing indicates fecal coliform or E. coli is present, the public must be notified.

Lead and Copper- Rules for minimizing lead and copper in drinking water have been developed. The regulations include corrosion control treatment, sampling for lead and copper levels in drinking water, water treatment if required, and public education.

Synthetic organic and inorganic chemicals (SOC and IOC)-This rule sets MCLs for 33 contaminants and require monitoring for 110 additional contaminants.

Additional rules are expected to be implemented in the future that will address additional volatile organic and synthetic organic chemicals, radionuclides, radon, disinfectants, arsenic, and many other contaminants.

The expense of conducting the comprehensive testing program mandated by the SDWA will drive up water system costs. The potential for additional expenses which could result if sampling uncovers problems with water systems may far exceed the cost of sampling. For example expensive water treatment could be necessary or some water sources may have to be abandoned and new sources developed (e.g., drill a new well at some distance from the old one and lay pipe to move water to the system).

What kind of contaminants or chemicals are in my water?

Water quality reports, called consumer confidence reports (CCR) are available for District water systems at the main office or on the Kitsap PUD Homepage. The CCR report list the contaminants that are tested for, how often, and the results.

How about the rest of the contaminants.....the ones you have not tested for.

We do not have any indicators of significant water contamination problems in Kitsap County that are related to water system contaminants that are not covered in the program. Proposed revisions to the Safe Drinking Water Act should enable EPA to pursue improving the program with more emphasis on risk and cost vs benefit.

Does the PUD add fluoride to the water?

No, the PUD does not fluoridate any of the District's water systems.

What are you doing to protect us from chemical contamination?

We are carefully fulfilling the requirements of the State Department of Health Wellhead Protection Program (WHPP). The goal of the WHPP is to prevent contamination of our public drinking water supplies. In Washington, the State Department of Health (DOH) is the lead agency for developing and administering the WHPP. All group A public water systems (those that serve more than 25 persons or 15 connections) are affected by the WHPP. Key components of any wellhead protection program include:

  • Mapping of wellhead protection areas (WHPAs). WHPAs identify the geographic area that directly contributes water in the short term to the drinking water supply.
  • Inventory of potential sources of ground water contamination within wellhead protection areas; and
  • Development of management strategies to eliminate or minimize the possibility that these potential contaminant sources may become actual sources of ground water contamination.

How do you keep contaminants from getting in the water in the first place?

We work with the County Ground Water Guardian Program to help protect ground water sources. We work with local zoning authorities to restrict activities that might have a negative health effect, to prevent them from being located near sources of water.

We take precautions in construction of facilities to keep out contaminants and disinfect the facilities prior to use.

We work with industry and government agencies to ensure that both comply with environmental requirements concerning pollutant discharges.

Should we be drinking bottled water?

Just because water comes from a bottle doesn't guarantee it to be of high quality.

KPUD water systems are routinely tested and monitored. Tests show that the water is safe and that there is no need to drink bottled water. The testing requirements for bottled water are less stringent than those imposed on public water systems.

How about home treatment devices I've seen advertised? Should I get one to offer additional protection for my family?

Before you consider investing in a home treatment or filtration system for your home, do your homework. How specifically are you trying to improve your water quality, and what do you hope to achieve through this treatment? Contaminant levels are monitored regularly by the water utility and are provided for your information in the Consumer Confidence Report, which is provided annually to all customers. If this report does not address your concerns, please contact KPUD's Operations for the latest monitoring results.

The term "contaminant" refers to everything from naturally occurring minerals, which your body needs to synthetic organic compounds, some of which may cause health problems. The mere presence of a contaminant does not pose a health threat, and in fact, the removal of a "contaminant" such as calcium may be detrimental to your health. While treatment systems can remove "contaminants" from your water, there is no one system that will remove all contaminants. If, after a thorough evaluation of the water chemistry, you decide treatment or filtration is warranted for your home, be sure to review the systems maintenance manual thoroughly and adhere to all recommended maintenance procedures. Without proper maintenance, regular replacement of filters or treatment media, etc., your treatment system can cause excessive buildup and release of collected contaminants into your drinking water.

Finally, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is aimed at ensuring that individual treatment devices are not necessary for individuals who receive their water from public water systems. In most cases, water is treated at the source by the utility to maintain contaminants within allowable levels. Usually this treatment can be done more effectively and economically by the utility. Still, you may have specific health or aesthetic concerns that dictate your need for a treatment system. The ultimate decision is yours.


Board Meeting: Jan. 9, 2017, 9:30am

Board Meetings are held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 9:30am. The meetings are held at our offices and are open to the public. For Minutes and Agendas from previous Board Meetings, visit our Archives
NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

The Board of Commissioners of Public Utility District No. 1 of Kitsap County has cancelled its regularly scheduled meeting on December 26, 2017 due to holiday schedules and the lack of a quorum.
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