WSSC reassures community about discolored water

(PHOTO: WSSC)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission assured Montgomery County residents today in a press conference that the brown tap water they’ve been seeing isn’t dangerous.

The WSSC provides drinking water and wastewater treatment to Montgomery County and Prince George’s. A group of officials gathered at the press conference to explain that the discoloration was due to an increase in the amount of manganese, which is a naturally occurring mineral in the Potomac River.

“This is an aesthetic issue and not a public health issue,” said a statement on the WSSC website.

Water quality experts noticed an uptick in decayed leaves and other organic material floating in the Potomac this year, possibly due to severe weather events. This led to a shift in the WSSC’s water treatment protocol, which in turn has allowed more manganese in the water. But manganese is not a health hazard, while the decaying plant material would be, said the commission.

The water discoloration is likely to continue for several weeks.