Discolored or rusty water may occur as a result of a few different events. If a fire hydrant has been opened for routine testing ("flushing,"usually performed in the month of October), or if City street sweepers have opened the hydrant to fill their trucks, residents nearby may experience dirty or discolored water. In addition, if a main water or sewer line develops a leak, or construction is ongoing near you, you may also experience dirty or discolored water as a result of the main water line being shut down, then brought back online, stirring up sediment in the course of this process.
We recommend that you do not run your hot water immediately, since this will draw the dirty water into your hot water tank. To clear the water, we suggest you run the cold water for a time (10 minutes at most, at one time), ideally later in the day when other surrounding residents will also be doing the same - running the cold water to eliminate the dirty water from the system - since the more homeowners run their cold water, the faster it will flush through the piping and clear up for everyone.
If you notice dirty water in the course of washing clothes, DO NOT PUT THE CLOTHES IN THE DRYER, as this will set stains from the discolored water. The Water/Sewer Business Office has a supply of a rust and stain remover called Iron Out, which you may obtain for free by picking up a bottle at Customer Service Dept in City Hall's main rotunda while supplies last. Please call ahead to confirm that this is still available: (617) 796-1000.