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Discolored water in the west metro area has local residents wondering what they can do to avoid yellow stains and repulsive smells.

Minnetrista city officials attribute the issue to a recent flush of their water hydrants, which stirred up sediment that had previously lain dormant. The striking yellow-orange hues are caused by disturbingly high iron content.

Iron is not the only issue though. Residents also complain of cloudy, opaque water and the odor of rotten eggs (frequently associated with hydrogen sulfide). Hydrogen sulfide issues occur when water features an ideal environment for bacteria to reduce sulfate molecules to hydrogen sulfide as part of the degradation of organic matter. In high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide is corrosive, flammable, and poisonous.

As you would expect, these aquatic misadventures have not gone unnoticed by the affected citizens. Community members have complained of stained laundry and questioned the safety of consuming or bathing in the impure water. While the city has responded to complaints by commissioning a study to determine the cost of city-wide water filtration technologies, their official position claims “the water is safe and it meets the standards” required by the state public water systems. Minnesota Department of Health educator Stew Thornley notes “It’s up to the community itself to decide if it wants to make the investment to improve the aesthetic qualities of their water.” But how?

The people living in affected areas don’t have to sit around helplessly waiting for the city council bureaucrats to decide whether yellow water constitutes a health issue. The city of Mound plans on beginning construction on two water filtration plants after street work is finished… in 2018.

The message is clear, if you’re not satisfied with the purity of the water in your family home, take matters into your own hands. Modern residential filtration systems can be designed to target iron, hydrogen sulfide, turbidity and dozens of other potentially dangerous chemicals. Drinking water systems use reverse osmosis technology to filter out more than 99.9% of the dissolved solids in your water so it won’t taste like metal, chlorine or anything else. As always, Water Doctors will test the water in your home for hardness or iron content free of charge.

In the Old West the term “yellow” was applied to people who were considered cowardly. It seems funny that now the same color is making Minnesotans afraid of their own water.