Installation officials address cloudy water concerns

26 Sep 2013 | Staff Reports

Some members of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune community have reported experiencing “cloudy” water coming from their faucets recently.

Although the recent cloudy water, which can appear whitish or have a brownish-yellow tint may look strange, it is simply an aesthetic characteristic and not a cause for concern, said Jim Sides, the utilities director for Camp Lejeune’s Public Works Office.

“Our water treatment plants soften (to remove minerals), filter (to remove minerals) and chlorinate (to disinfect) the water you drink,” said Sides. “The water softener we use is lime, which is an industry standard softening product.  Most of the lime we use to soften the water is filtered out at the water treatment plant.  However, some collects along the pipes in the distribution system. This is actually good for the distribution system.”

Lime collecting in the pipes can be positive because it coats the pipes helping to seal it and prevent corrosion, Sides added.

The lime buildup can be disturbed by several factors including pipe breaks, water line replacements and normal fire hydrant flow testing conducted by the fire department.

While recent months have seen an increase in reported cases of cloudy water onboard the Base, officials with the Public Works Office are confident the increase is due to a combination of a temporary blending of unsoftened fresh groundwater and softened water and an increase in water usage, said Sides.  “Unsoftened fresh ground water has a lower pH than the softened water typically used aboard the base; the change in pH levels may have affected the lime coating the pipes,” he added. 

This blending was done to supplement water supply during the summer seasonal spike in usage and make up for additional shortfalls in water supply stemming from ongoing maintenance and cleaning of one of Camp Lejeune’s water treatment facilities.  The water blending process is not unusual and was preapproved by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  

With the onset of the fall season, the need for this additional water supply has ceased and Public Works is currently flushing the water system to address the cloudy water. Recent samples of the distribution system, the water reservoirs and of the cloudy water have confirmed the water meets state and federal drinking water standards.

The Public Works Office says it understands aesthetic issues are very important to the base community and projects the cloudiness should dissipate soon after the flushing of the system is complete. 

To report cloudy water, call 450-9972. More information about drinking water sampling and compliance information, including information for local service areas, is contained in the base’s Consumer Confidence Reports and can be accessed at:   

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