Advice from United Utilities before scheduled works

United Utilities has issued a warning that water quality and appearance may be affected in some parts of Birkenhead during scheduled improvement works, due to start on Monday 9th November.  

As part of a project to improve the water network, United Utilities has been installing new pipes and equipment at a number of sites in the Birkenhead area.

The United Utilities team will be working in the following areas: Boundary Road, Bidston Road, Talbot Road and at Flaybrick Service Reservoir. In an effort to minimise disruption, the work will take place overnight between 9pm – 6am and will be carried out over five consecutive evenings. 

United Utilities will have to carry out testing that involves flushing the water pipes, and this could cause some temporary discolouration to tap water.  

If you notice any changes to the colour of your tap water, United Utilities has provided the following information:

My water has a yellow or brown appearance and has particles in it. This work can sometimes disturb some of the natural mineral deposits within the pipes which can result in some temporary short term discolouration. This can range from a light straw colour through to a darker brown colour. We understand this can look unpleasant, but it is unlikely to be harmful to health. 

How can I clear this? Slowly run the cold water tap and you should see the water getting clearer. It’s best to trickle the cold water tap nearest to your internal stop tap which is usually in the kitchen. Why not collect the water and use it to water your plants?  

Please don’t be tempted to turn the tap on fully so water blasts out as this can make it worse as more particles are then disturbed and moved along the pipe.  If possible, try to avoid turning on other cold or hot water taps, showers or flushing the toilet until the water is clear. 

How long will this take to resolve? Discolouration can clear quickly, but it is dependent on the amount of mineral deposits that have been disturbed.  It may only take a few minutes, but it could be up to an hour or so.
If you’re on a meter, don’t worry, that’s less than 10 pence.  

Can I still use my washing appliances if my water is discoloured? Please do not wash any clothes, operate a dishwasher or use an electrically powered shower if your water has a yellow or brown colour.  By following the advice above this should help to clear any discolouration, and then you can continue to use the appliances as normal.  

My water looks cloudy. If your tap water looks cloudy or milky this is usually due to air bubbles that have become trapped in the water while we’ve been opening and closing valves or carrying out repairs. To check the problem is trapped air, fill a glass and let it stand for a few minutes.  If the water starts to gradually clear from the bottom upwards this indicates that the water contains trapped air.  This is perfectly safe to use.  

How can I clear this? The air within the water will release naturally every time you turn on your cold water tap and use the supply. 

Main image credit: