Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does water get to our homes and businesses?
A network of transmission and distribution mains transports water from our plants and wells to our customers' homes and businesses for their use. The pipelines range in size from 6" to 48" in diameter and are generally located within the public street rights of way. Other facilities include control valves, fire hydrants, service lines and meters. Fire hydrants used by local fire departments are connected directly to our distribution mains. Service lines are smaller pipes that bring the water from the distribution mains to the connection with customer's homes or businesses.
How much water does the average person use at home per day?
Estimates vary, but each person uses about 100 gallons of water per day. Americans drink more than 1 billion glasses of water a day.
What is potable water?
Potable (which rhymes with floatable) means water that is safe to drink. Potable water must come from a natural source, e.g. surface or groundwater, and must meet or be better than federal and state standards for drinking water quality.
Why does my water sometimes have a chlorine taste and odor?
Like all public water suppliers in New Jersey, Middlesex Water Company is required by law to provide disinfectant (chlorine) to the water during the treatment process to kill germs. This may mean that you may encounter chlorine-type tastes or odors from time to time. If you find this unacceptable, collect tap water in a container, shake it and let it stand for a while before covering the container and placing it in the refrigerator for drinking. The chlorine odor will dissipate.
Why does drinking water often look cloudy when first taken from a faucet and then clear up?
The cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to the gas bubbles in carbonated soft drinks. After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone. This type of cloudiness occurs more often in the winter when the drinking water is cold.
What is hard water?
Many customers inquire about the hardness of water when purchasing dishwashers, water heaters and washing machines. Hardness in water is caused by two minerals: calcium and magnesium. If your water contains substantial amounts of these minerals, water is said to be hard because making a lather or suds is hard to do. Water containing little calcium or magnesium is usually called soft water. Water hardness varies depending on where you live and what source water you are receiving at the time. Call our Customer Service Department to receive the latest water hardness updates.
Why does dishwater or the dishwasher leave spots on glasses?
The spots that may appear on glassware after washing and air drying are caused by nontoxic minerals that remain on the glass when the water evaporates. Spots on glass shower doors appear for the same reason. Commercial products are available that allow the water to drain from glassware more completely.
I've heard about people installing filters or home treatment devices? Is that really necessary?
Water provided by your utility meets all state and federal primary standards for drinking water quality. However, some customers may choose to install additional home treatment devices to meet their personal preferences. These treatment devices do not necessarily make the water safer or healthier to drink. And, if not properly maintained, can actually cause water quality problems.
Do we really need to drink eight glasses of water a day for good health?
Our bodies need fluid, even when we don't feel thirsty. But keep in mind that beverages such as juice, milk and soft drinks and many foods are almost all water and count towards the required fluid intake. Water is usually recommended over other beverages, however, because it does not contain caffeine or sugar.
What is best to use for cooking -- hot or cold tap water?
It is best to use cold water. Hot water can contain rust, copper and lead or other impurities from your household plumbing because these contaminants dissolve more quickly into hot water than into cold water.
Can I pay your representative in order to keep my water on?
Middlesex Water generally prohibits utility workers from accepting payments of any kind. Please call our Customer Service office to make payment arrangements.
Can I pay my bill online?
For added convenience and flexibility, we offer our customers a way to pay their bills online. This saves you postage, paperwork and helps the environment. You can access the Pay Online pay portal from our home page.
Why do I have to pay a minimum charge every month, even if I use very little water?
Your bill is comprised of a service charge and a consumption charge. The service charge portion of your bill is designed to recover a portion of the fixed costs incurred in providing water service. These costs include the cost of maintaining the supply, treatment, distribution and service facilities that are needed to provide water service to your home or business. This charge appears on every bill and does not vary with consumption, but is related to the size and flow capacity of your meter. The consumption charge reflects the amount of water you actually used.
In towns and cities, what is the major cause of pollution of drinking water sources?
The major source of pollution in towns and cities is rainwater that flows into street catch basins (called urban runoff or storm water runoff). While the rainwater alone is not necessarily harmful, it frequently carries untreated waste products from our streets and yards directly to rivers, lakes, and streams -- our drinking water sources.
What can I do to prevent water pollution?
We can all play a role in protecting water quality in our neighborhoods. You can prevent pollution by limiting the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides on your garden and lawn, Also use proper methods to dispose hazardous household waste such as bleach, motor oil, paint, household cleaners and pharmaceutical and personal care products. Some towns have drop off areas for these items. Check with your local Public Works Department for guidelines. These simple actions can prevent hazardous materials from seeping back into the soil and contaminating water supplies.
What causes water mains to break?
Adverse weather conditions and significant changes in temperature can create havoc with water mains and cause main breaks. You can usually tell when a water main break has happened because water is bubbling up from the ground. Sometimes breaks are less noticeable and may only be detected by a loss of water pressure. We strive to repair water main breaks and restore service as quickly as possible. Water service may be interrupted while the main is being fixed but is resumed once the pipe has been replaced, flushed and water samples taken to ensure water quality.