Why Your Water May Look “Milky” These Next Two Weeks

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Athens residents might notice their tap water during the next two weeks having a “milky” appearance. But city water officials say there is nothing to worry about.

The Athens Water Treatment Plant alternates between one of three pumps to deliver water to city residents on a daily basis. One of the pump motors is getting repaired, forcing water treatment workers to use a different pump that is leaking air bubbles into the water. These air bubbles are what makes the water look “milky”.

“It’s aesthetic. The water is safe to drink,” Plant Manager Shawn Beasley said. “If you pour a glass of water, it clears up in like two seconds. The air comes up to the surface. It’s kind of like fizz in your pop.”

Pumps are usually used both day and night, but because workers are also replacing pipe values throughout the plant, they have had to shut down the pumps during the day. This is making the problem worse, Beasley said.

The pump motor should be repaired in about two weeks causing the air bubbles to go away, Beasley said.

City officials are replacing all water pumps, valves, and other aging equipment later this summer as a part of an over six million dollar effort to upgrade the water treatment plant. This includes adding solar panels to the plant to make it more energy efficient.

“You know, these pumps are 50 years old,” Beasley said. “They’re going to be replaced as well — new pumps, new motors, new controls.”