Water Quality Troubleshooting

This is intended to help customers of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District determine the probable causes and solutions to some fairly common water quality issues.  If you are still uncertain of the cause of a water quality problem after reviewing the information below, or would rather have a staff member assist you, please call (831)338-2153.  Please note:  San Lorenzo Valley Water District staff members are water professionals and not medical experts.  If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness or discomfort, we recommend that you seek medical attention immediately.

Getting Started:

Here are some basic pieces of information to gather before troubleshooting water quality issues.  Alternatively, if you decide to contact the SLVWD staff to help you with troubleshooting water quality issues, this information is helpful to SLVWD staff:

  • When did this water quality problem first start?
  • Does this problem occur when you first turn on your water and resolves within a minute or two, or does the problem continue as the tap runs?
  • Does this problem occur with just the cold water, the hot water, or both cold and hot?
  • Does the problem occur at some or all inside faucets?
  • Do you notice the same problem occurring at the outside front hose spigot?
  • Do you have any home treatment devices, such as a water filter, or a water softener installed?  If you have a home treatment device installed, but not in use, is this device still connected to your home plumbing?
  • Are your neighbors experiencing the same problem?
  • Do you know what type of internal plumbing material is used inside of your home (such as copper, PEX, galvanized)?

Please read through the index below and identify the water quality problem that you are experiencing.  Click on the index title links for more detailed information on probable causes and potential solutions. 


  • Determining the Source of the Odor
  • Chlorine or Chemical Odor
  • Sulfur or Rotten Egg Odor
  • Organic Solvent Odor (i.e., gasoline, turpentine)


Color or Visual Appearance of Water

  • Yellow or Brown Hot Water Upon First Draw of Faucet
  • Yellow or Brown Cold Water Running Consistently
  • Cloudy or Milky Water
  • Blue-Green Color


  • White or Cloudy Residue
  • White Particles
  • Brown or Orange Particles
  • Black Particles