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Don't panic if your tap water is cloudy — here's what happened and what you should do

A water main break near Bellingham's Columbia neighborhood impacted some residents and businesses in the area, including the Lighthouse Mission and Chuckanut Brewery, and could cause cloudy water for residents in other parts of the city.
A water main break near Bellingham's Columbia neighborhood impacted some residents and businesses in the area, including the Lighthouse Mission and Chuckanut Brewery, and could cause cloudy water for residents in other parts of the city. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A water main break near Bellingham's Columbia neighborhood impacted some residents and businesses in the area, including the Lighthouse Mission and Chuckanut Brewery, and could cause cloudy water for residents in other parts of the city.

According to a Facebook post by the City of Bellingham, a valve on a water main at Walnut Street and Monroe Street was broken during construction work at around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

It took about 30 minutes for crews to get the water turned off, Assistant Director of Public Works Operations Eric Johnston said.

"It should be all cleared up soon," Johnston said. "The initial repair work is being done quickly."

Johnston said the outage only affected a "small number of customers." But crews have heard reports of cloudy water at other locations around the city, such as at James and Alabama streets and along the Guide Meridian.

"It's not unsanitary," Johnston said. "The best practice if your water is cloudy is to find the nearest tap to the meter, or where the water comes in, and let it run full-bore for a while and see if it clears up. If not, give us a call."

Johnston said crews will continue to work to make repairs to the main and to Monroe Street, which suffered some damage with the main was broken.

Water efficiency is the smart use of resources through water-saving technologies and simple steps you can take around the house, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Much of your indoor water use probably occurs in the bathroom.

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