The purpose and desire of Western Berks Water is to deliver with integrity a safe, reliable, and sustainable water service. We strive to provide our customers with water at the lowest reasonable rate, consistent with safe business practices, in an environmentally sound manner. We attempt to understand our customers’ needs to ensure we’re able to meet future compliance, water quality and capacity requirements.


If your water has a brownish or rusty color, the color is a result of the presence of iron or rust. Most of the pipes used to deliver water to your home are made of iron. Older mains can impart rust to the water. Newer mains are lined with cement to lessen the contact between the water and the iron mains. However, when there is an upset in the system such as a water main break, or when a valve is operated or water flow is changed, rust may be stirred up. When this happens, the water is unpleasant to look at and taste, but it is not harmful.

A rust problem is usually short-lived, and should be gone in a day or less once it is flushed from our water distribution system or your home plumbing. Do not wash clothes when water appears rusty because the rust will stain the fabric. Flush your cold and hot water, once the discoloration is gone, to make sure the rust does not accumulate or stay in your plumbing.

Earthy and musty off-flavors in water occurs worldwide, and aside from the chlorine flavor of tap water, are the most common flavors noticed by our customers. They come from nature and have no known health effects at their natural levels.

Earthy and musty odors can be found in natural waters and in soils, as well as in beets and in corn (because they are grown in contact with soil). In waterways, when certain algae grow in abundance in what we call an algae bloom, high levels of these odors can be produced. Certain types of soil bacteria that also grow in water produce these chemicals, but they are less common in our waters.

The treatment needed to remove earthy and musty natural flavors can cost thousands of dollars a day. The most common treatment is to add carbon to the water as it is being treated, to absorb or soak up the flavors. However, these problems usually come and go, lasting for a few days to a few weeks.

The level of these flavors in water can be as low as 5 nanograms per liter (that is 5 parts-per-trillion or 5 seconds in 320 centuries, or 5 pinches of salt in 10,000 tons of potato chips). Yet, highly sensitive people can still taste them. Sensitivity varies greatly among people. Many people are unable to detect one or the other flavor at their natural levels. Some people can detect both, equally well; the human senses are far more complex than anyone can understand.

If you have ever shaken up a warm bottle of soda, you know that all of the carbonation or carbon dioxide gas added in the production process wants to come out. If you open the top, the fluid will fizz up and over as the gas escapes to the air.

The same is true for tap water. When cold, such as during the winter, water is rich in oxygen. When it enters our homes, the water warms up and the oxygen wants to escape. You turn on the tap and, like shaking up that bottle of warm soda, the air fizzes up. As the glass of water sits, you will see the water clear from the bottom of the glass upward, as the air bubbles rise and escape to the air. All of these tiny air bubbles give the glass of water a milky appearance under natural or household lighting.

The air bubbles are not harmful and will quickly dissipate.


As a member of the prestigious Partnership for Safe Drinking Water, Western Berks Water is required to produce water at even higher standards than current PA Department of Environmental Protection requirements. We are proud to be ranked in the top 2% of all water treatment plants in the United States.

Western Berks Quality Reports: