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Water Quality Information

Below is an overview of how complaints are approached and a few basic steps used to identify the issue(s).

First, some basic questions to help isolate and identify any possible water quality issues you may be experiencing:

  • Does the problem occur at some or all inside taps?
  • Do you observe the same conditions at the outside front faucet (or hose bib)?
  • Does it occur with just the cold water, the hot water, or both?
  • Does it occur only when you first turn on the water or does it occur continuously?
  • When did you first notice the problem?
  • Are your neighbors experiencing the same problem?
  • Do you know what type of pipes you have (i.e., copper, galvanized iron)?
  • Do you have any home treatment devices (i.e., water softener, reverse osmosis system, whole house filtration system, point-of-use activated carbon filter)? If not in use, is it still connected to your internal plumbing?

Water Taste Issues

If someone recently moved to the Stephenville service area, the new water source may taste differently. Just as various brands of bottled water have different tastes due to the varying minerals they contain, the taste of domestic drinking water also varies with its source(s).

We assure all our customers that the drinking water Stephenville provides is recognized by the state as “superior” and meets or surpasses all state and federal drinking water standards.

Water Odor Issues

The first step in understanding the source of an odor is to determine if the problem exists in the public water supply or in a plumbing system. If the water supply is causing the odor, the odor will be noticed at every water faucet and it will be persistent. If the source of the odor is in the residence/business plumbing, the odor will be experienced in only one or a few, but not all, of the faucets.

If the problem goes away after running the water for a few minutes, the cause is somewhere in the plumbing. If the plumbing is the source of the odor, the plumbing system can be flushed or the resident/business owner can consult a licensed plumber.

If you suspect that the source of the odor is the public water supply, please call the customer service department at (254) 918-1220.

If an odor is detected in the tap water, we recommend performing what is referred to as a “glass test” at the faucet where the odor was detected.

  • Run the cold water tap for 20 to 30 seconds
  • Get a clean glass
  • Fill and rinse twice with cold tap water.
  • Fill the glass and turn off the faucet
  • Step away from the sink (This eliminates the possibility of mistaking odors from a drain for an odor in the water.)  Smell the water in the glass and characterize the odor, if any.  Below are the most common odors associated with tap water.

Chlorine Odor

If a medicinal or chlorine odor is detected, it is most likely the chlorine used to disinfect the water to ensure it is safe to drink. This odor may be stronger in the shower since chlorine is released to the air more rapidly when mixed with hot water.

Foul / Sulfur / Rotten Egg / Sewage Odor

Cold Water: If the odor is not evident in the glass, but is noticeable when the cold water is running and you are standing at the sink, then the odor is most likely coming from the drain. This problem is easily solved by filling the sink with hot water, adding a few ounces of chlorine bleach, and allowing the hot chlorinated water to flush and disinfect the drain. It is also good practice to periodically remove and clean the sink stopper and/or garbage disposal.

Hot Water: If you find these odors in your hot water, there are two probable causes:

  • Bacteria may be residing in the water heater. Disinfecting the water heater may eliminate this odor.
  • The water heater anode may need to be replaced.


Swampy / Fishy / Earthy / Musty / Moldy / Grassy Odor

These odors may be caused by an algae bloom in a surface water source reservoir. Typically, an event like this is short-lived and does not pose any health concerns.  Please note that on average, surface water accounts approximately 6% of the Stephenville water supply annually.