Construction stirs up sediment in pipes, brown tap water harmless


BUTTE, Mont. - Some Butte residents were worried after seeing brown, murky water coming from their faucets.Butte's Public Works Director said the discolored water is from workers shutting off Butte's second largest water main on Harrison Avenue.

The water main construction starts on the corner of Dewey and Harrison and ends about half a mile south. People in that area and those south of the interstate may see murky tap water.

City officials told NBC Montana crews are replacing a 24-inch water main. When they shut it off, water re-routed into smaller pipes, picking up speed and stirring up sediment.

Officials said the brown water is harmless, and the city checks for bacteria almost every day.

"But I wouldn't drink a glass of water if I took it from my tap and it was brown, and I wouldn't advise anyone else to drink it either," said Public Works Director Dave Shultz. "It's not a very aesthetically pleasing thing. So let the tap run 15 to 20 minutes and typically that will all clear up and you'll have nice, clear water again."

Shultz said this won't be the last time Butte residents will see brown water. Twice a year, the city flushes pipes to clean out sediment. 

More Stories