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Water Quality

TO CLEAR DISCOLORED WATER: Turn only cold water faucets on, preferably bathtubs or showers due to the larger volume, and let run until the water becomes clear.

Annual Water Quality Reports

Tuesday September 20, 2022
Lead and Copper Samples Collected Certified Water Testing

Thursday March 12, 2020
  • 4:00pm We received a few more reports of brown or discolored water.  Please continue to report to us at
  • A few reports of brown water have been received today. Please check for water discoloration using cold water first before running any hot water. The Town experienced a brief, but large water flow spike at the WTP this morning. Staff is investigating the cause. Report discolored water to the Town office. 301-600-6300
  • The DOC will conduct a required flow test on their emergency fire pump beginning at 8:00AM on Friday 3/13/2020. There is potential discolored water as the testing sometimes increases the water flow through the pipes. Please check for discoloration with cold water before running your hot water and flush if necessary.

Thursday March 5, 2020

As a result of a fire protection system check, residents on or near Depaul St. may experience discolored water.  If so, please flush your line with cold water.  The effects of this occurrence should be minimal.   Please call 301-600-6300 or email with questions.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The work on the Waynesboro Pike water line work is now complete.  Water service has been restored.  Affected properties will likely have air in their lines that will need to be flushed out.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Water line work is scheduled for Wednesday 02/26/2020 8:00 AM until project completion on Waynesboro Pike water line (weather pending).  Service interruptions to properties Tract Rd and west.  Expect lane closures and flagging in the area.  Nearby developments excluded.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Monday, February 3, 2020

  • Town staff received preliminary results of discolored water testing from Frederick County. The letter can be found here.
  • A town meeting was held at 7:30 p.m. in the town office. One of the agenda items was a "water quality update" and "waynesboro waterline update for consideration." You can view a recording of the meeting on the Town YouTube channel

Monday January 27, 2020

  • (3:00 PM): EMMITSBURG: Low Water Pressure Alert.  In effort to pinpoint the cause of water quality issues, unexpected work is currently being performed on the pressure release valve. Some may experience changes in water pressure this afternoon/evening. Bear with us please.
  • A total of 3 brown water reports have been received since Wednesday January 22, 2020.

Wednesday January 22, 2020

  • (11:30am) Work on Waynesboro Pike is complete for the time being (originally scheduled for 1/22 - 1/23).  There will be no work or service interruptions today or tomorrow.  The repair could not be completed.  More details to follow.
  • A town meeting was held at 7:30 PM to discuss water quality and share information.  The Town Manager used a PowerPoint to present information.  You can view a recording of the meeting on the Town YouTube channel.  The PowerPoint presentation is available for viewing in PDF format.

Tuesday January 21, 2020 
  • 9:00 AM EMMITSBURG Brown Water Alert:  A few reports of brown water have been received this morning.  Please check for water discoloration using cold water first before running any hot water.  Flush with cold water if necessary.  The Town experienced a large spike in the water flow last night at approximately 9:15 PM.   Staff is investigating the cause.  301-600-6300 or with questions or to report discolored water. 
  • Waterline work (leak repair) scheduled is for tomorrow Wed. 1/22/20 through Thurs. 1/23/20 on Waynesboro Pike.  From 730AM –3:30PM properties starting at and west of Tract Road will experience intermittent water service interruptions. (Area developments excluded).  USE CAUTION while driving!  Staff and contractors will be working along the shoulder.  Watch for flagging due to necessary lane closure (eastbound).  Be advised: water line work often stirs up sediment in the water lines and leads to discolored/brown water.  Flush your pipes with cold water to clear.  Please note: back on January 7, 2020 a new valve pipe was installed at this same location however the leak was determined to be under the road.  We now have the necessary permitting to complete this repair.

Monday January 20, 2020
No brown water reports since January 12, 2020.

Thursday January 16, 2020
 There have been four reports of brown water since Friday January 3rd. Three of those were isolated incidents.

Monday January 13, 2020 
  • 3:50 PM a leak was found & repaired on N. Seton Ave today.  Water service has been restored to the affected properties.  Leaks and repairs often cause discolored water.  Please check for discoloration prior to running any hot water.
  • Tues. Jan. 14 - Thurs. Jan 16: The contractor and staff will begin prep work for sewer relining along North Seton Ave behind the American Legion down to Creekside apartments.  They will also begin prep work in the area of the post office along the creek to Creamery Road.  They will be cleaning and measuring the total line length and mark lateral connections.  There will be no service disruptions.  The actual sewer relining is expected to be 02/24/20-02/28/20.  Stay tuned for more details.
  • Water line repairs began at 7:30 am on N. Seton Avenue.

Friday January 10, 2020
At 7:30 AM on Monday January 13th staff will perform waterline repairs on N. Seton Ave. Service will be interrupted for properties from the N. Seton Ave bridge and northward. Flyers are being distributed. Be advised: water line work often stirs up sediment in the water lines and leads to discolored/brown water.  

Thursday January 9, 2020  
  • CORRECTION to the public statement issued on Friday January 3, 2020.  The Provincial House contacted us to report a spike in their water flow, not to report work they were performing.  The maintenance scheduled for today is being done because of the water spike they had last week.

Wednesday January 8, 2020
N. Seton Ave waterline work will be rescheduled for a later date due to weather conditions.

Tuesday January 7, 2020  
  • EMMITSBURG Water Alert: 

    The Provincial House has just notified us they will continue perform maintenance on their fire pump on Thurs. Jan. 09.   We have requested they refill their water storage tank slowly to minimize water flow spikes to Town pipes which often lead to discolored water.  
  • EMMITSBURG WATER LINE WORK: 730 AM Wed. 01/08 staff will perform waterline repairs on N. Seton Ave.  Service will be interrupted for properties from the N. Seton Ave bridge and northward.  Flyers are being distributed.  Be advised: water line work often stirs up sediment in the water lines and leads to discolored/brown water. Contact us for info on flushing your pipes.
  • EMMITSBURG WATER LINE (11am): Water service has been restored and repairs have been completed on the Waynesboro Pike waterline.  We recommend checking for water discoloration before using any hot water.  If you have brown/discolored water, let the COLD water run until it's clear before using any hot water.  The bathtub or shower will work faster than any other faucet.

**Water line repair on Waynesboro Pike is scheduled for Tuesday January 7, 2020 starting at 7:00 am.**  Properties on Waynesboro Pike starting at and west of Tract Road will be experience interrupted water service.  Flyers have been distributed to each of those properties. Water service will not be interrupted in any of the surrounding developments.  Water line work often time stirs up sediment in the water lines and leads to discolored/brown water.    

There had been no reports from residents of discolored water since the re-flushing of hydrants the week of 12/16/2019.

We began receiving reports of brown water yesterday (01/02/2020) in the afternoon.  We have received approximately 10 reports in total.

There are three contributing factors to this recent flare up:

  • We were contacted yesterday by the Provincial House regarding water line work that was being performed.
  • We have received (unofficial) reports of water line issues at the fire academy during the past 2 weeks which required them to do water line work. 
  • Finally, a leak was discovered on Waynesboro Pike.  We are making preparations to repair that by the middle of next week. 

We apologize for the lack of notice when the Provincial House contacted us regarding the work they were performing.  We are striving to build communication levels with our residents as well as local organizations that have the ability to pull large amounts of water from our system.   

Please sign up for the AlertFC program to receive updates on important news and information from the Town.

REMINDER: At first sign of discolored water, turn only cold water faucets on, preferably bathtubs or showers due to the larger volume, and let the water run until it becomes clear.

Friday January 3, 2020
 We will respond to recent brown water reports shortly.  Please continue to report if you have discolored water to the Town office.  The moment you notice brown water, turn only cold water faucets on, preferably bathtubs or showers due to the larger volume, and let run until the water becomes clear.

Friday December 20, 2019: The Town completed the installation of the blow off valve on Frailey Road (12/19/19) and staff will finish hydrant flushing today.  

Wednesday December 18, 2019 Statement on Continued Hydrant Flushing:
On Monday 12/16/2019 staff began re-flushing the 10” main line that comes down off of the mountain (Frailey Road) and we continue to flush strategically all the way through town to clear the sediment from the lines.

We understand that some people’s water had cleared up and the discoloration has since returned this week.

If we don’t do a full flush of the line, we will continue to have sporadic brown water with every water spike.  This full hydrant flush that began on Monday 12/16/2019 is expected to be complete no later than tomorrow.  The blow off valve on Riffle Road is scheduled to be installed tomorrow.

We do understand your frustrations, however at this point this thorough re-flush is the only solution.    

Staff will be reviewing water bills for high usage concerns prior to mailing December 2019 quarterly bill.

Staff is continuing to flush hydrants today, working their way east.

Staff began hydrant flushing at approximately 8:30 am on Frailey Road.  They proceeded to Timbermill Run, then West Main, and hope to end up on West Lincoln by the end of the day in effort to keep the water flowing in the same direction.

12/13/2019 Statement
We have received an abundance of calls and emails regarding discolored water, mostly on the west side of town.  Town staff will be flushing hydrants again on Monday December 16th in the problem areas, and potentially in other areas around town.   We understand this is more than an inconvenience and we are working diligently to get to the root of this problem.
The blow off valve was not installed today due to the weather conditions.
Action Items
On Monday December 9, 2019 a meeting was held to discuss the discolored water reports that we had been receiving.  We developed a plan to try to alleviate the problem.  
  • Install a blow off valve on Riffle Road.   The blow off valve is scheduled to be installed on Friday December 13, 2019.  The blow off valve will be about halfway down the mountain line so it will help clear any sediment build up and will make the flushing of the Frailey Road hydrant more effective.
  • The newly installed blow off valve on Riffle Road will be flushed quarterly.
  • The hydrant at Frailey Road will be flushed quarterly instead of semi-annually.
  • The hydrant at Timbermill Run will be flushed quarterly instead of semi-annually.
  • Bring in a leak detection specialist.  We have been contracting a specialist semi-annually to listen for leaks in the water lines throughout town, focusing first on problem areas.  In the past, we have had successful outcomes.  If the contractor hears a noise which indicates a possible leak, they will investigate further until a location of the leak is determined.  These specialists will not go on private property and typically listen near valves.  The specialist is scheduled to be in Town over the next week or so.
  • Requesting Proposals for Engineering Services.  The Town is looking to install a new clarifier at the water treatment plant.  A new clarifier will help maintain the levels in the water storage tank so that additional flushing will not burden the water plant and it will assist in maintaining capacity.

Incidents of High Water Flows
Issues from Friday (12/6) through weekend can be attributed to two water spikes in the system.
  1. Friday December 6, 2019 for approximately 45 minutes (9:15am-10:00am) which brought the flows up to 400 gallons per minute instead of average 200 gallons per minute or less.
  2. Friday December 6, 2019 for approximately 45 minutes (3:30-4:15am) increased flow to 60 gallons per minute instead of the average overnight flow 30-40 gallons per minute.
  3. Thursday December 5, 2019 there was a water spike from 12:30am – 1:00am (unknown flow level at this point).

History of Daily Logs
Town staff performs tests daily at two locations, 22 East Main Street and at the storage tank at the Water Treatment Plant.  Some of this data is not required by the MDE but has been historically collected and will continue to be.

Daily logs from 22 East Main St. (Oct. 1, 2019 - Dec. 11, 2019).
  • The most important columns are Town PH and Town Turb. under finished water; and then CL2 Res Town Hall (right side)
  • Town PH has a maximum of 8.5 per MDE.
  • Town Turbidity: Staff strives to remain under 1.0 NTU although there is no set maximum required by MDE.
  • CL2 Res Town Hall, chlorine levels are required to be between a trace to 4.0.
  • POST 2 PH (maximum of 8.5)
  • POT. CL2 (trace to 4.0)

Residential Lab Test Results
Nov 27, 2019
Nov 21, 2019

This page was created to help the community stay informed in the wake of our recent issues with discolored water (Nov. - Dec. 2019).  Please continue to report discolored water, and changes in water pressure or color.