FAQ - Water Works

A new water main is being installed near me in the county, can I get water from the new main?

  • Yes.  Water Works will first verify the water main installation and location. Then, the homeowner must hire a plumber to run plumbing from the home to the new tap.  There is a connection assessment and tap fee that is charged once completed.  Along with the fee, the home owner must sign a waiver of annexation.  These fees may vary.  

    If you have questions or would like to hook into a new main, please contact the Engineering Department of Water Works at 574.235.9279.

How do I start or stop service for my sprinkler system?

  • Please call 574-235-9236 and select Option 4.

Is it normal to have white flakes in ice cubes or hot water?

  • Flakes are caused by calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate precipitates.  When hard water is frozen or boiled, the carbonates in the water come out of solution, appearing as whitish flakes and attaching to containers.  This calcium is the same as that in dairy products and is harmless. 

    Soft water does not have any calcium or magnesium carbonate deposits, but the use of soft water is not recommended.

Is the public allowed to open fire hydrants?

  • No, safety is the Cities main concern.  Not only for the residents surrounding the hydrant, but also for the vehicles that are driving by.  Opening the fire hydrant incorrectly could result in damage to yourself and the hydrant. If the hydrant becomes damaged, it may no longer work properly in the event of an emergency.  The fire hydrants should be opened by trained personal only.

Is the utilities deposit refunded when I move out of the City?

  • Yes, your deposit will be credited towards your final bill.

My utility bill is incorrect, who do I call?

  • Please call the Division of Water Works at 574.235.9236 for information regarding your utilities bill.

What should I do if I have sand in my water?

  • Sand-like particles could be calcium (lime) deposits, water softener resin, or sand from a geologic formation. A small sample of the particles should be soaked in vinegar or a mild acid.  If the particles dissolve when the acid is added, they are calcium deposits.  Sand or water softener resin will not react to the acid.  Water softener resin appears as symmetrical and shiny particles that feel greasy to the touch.  If the particles are determined to be water softener resin, then the water softener should be bypassed.  If there is a significant decrease in pressure or quantity of water, there is a possibility that the particles are coming from our water mains.  Please contact our customer service office immediately.  A series of 3 by 10 system flushes will remove any particles from your household plumbing.  However, flush each cold water faucet and have your water heater checked for calcium deposits.

    If there are any further questions or the source of the problems cannot be determined, please contact our customer service office at 574.235.9670. Water Works personnel may be able to correctly identify the particles.

What should I do if my water is an unusual color?

  • Rusty, yellow, or orange colored water is caused by iron and manganese sediment that can be deposited in  water mains.  This sediment can get agitated when water mains are flushed, fire hydrants are used, or when water mains leak.  Water mains must be flushed as a part of the proper operation and maintenance of a  distribution system.  This discolored water is safe to drink, but it is not esthetically pleasing and can stain clothes.

    Discolored water can be remedied if the household plumbing is flushed.  Three cold water faucets need to be opened at the same time for 10 minutes to remove any discolored water from the household plumbing.  This is referred to as a 3 by 10 system flush.  Discolored water is hard to remove from a hot water tank.  A cold water faucet in the basement, one in the kitchen, and one in a bathtub or shower is preferred.  If the problem persists, alert our customer service office.  Do not open any hot water faucets until the cold water has cleared up.

    Please Note: Do not do laundry if the water is discolored because it will stain the laundry.  In the event that your clothes are stained, a stain removing agent is available at our customer service office. Do not dry your laundry.  The first bottle is free, and each additional bottle costs $3.50.  Please use the stain removing agent as directed.

What should I do to report water coming up to the surface near my house?

  • Please call our operations center at 235.9464 to report water coming up to the surface.  There are a variety of reasons water could be coming up to the surface.  One of these possibilities is a water leak.  Please call us at 235.9464 so we can determine if the problem is a South Bend Water Works problem.

When I make coffee or tea, why is there scum floating on top?

  • Due to South Bend Water Works groundwater supply, our water is especially hard. Sometimes the minerals in the water will form a scum-like deposit when they are combined with the natural oils and other ingredients in the coffee bean or tea leaf. This substance, composed of natural oils and minerals, is harmless.

    To alleviate future coffee or tea mishaps, you may opt to use softened water or non-bleached coffee filters (see additional note).

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