Drinking Water FAQs

Is the water in Sioux Falls safe to drink?

Yes! The drinking water in Sioux Falls complies with all federal and state drinking water standards. The water is tested on a daily basis, even for potential contaminants that are not currently regulated by the federal government.

When can I water my lawn?

Lawn watering schedules and information can be found HERE.

What is "hard" water?

Hardness in drinking water is mainly the result of the presence of two minerals; calcium and magnesium. If either of these minerals are present in your water in large amounts, the water is said to be "hard" because making a lather or suds for washing is difficult (hard) to do. Water containing little calcium or magnesium is referred to as "soft" water.

Is chloraminated water safe to drink?

According to the CDC: “Studies indicate that using or drinking water with small amounts of chloramine does not cause harmful health effects and provides protection against waterborne disease outbreaks. These studies reported no observed health effects from drinking water with chloramine levels of less than 50 milligrams per liter (mg/L) in drinking water. A normal level for drinking water disinfection can range from 1.0 to 4.0 mg/L.”

What is MTBE and is there any in our drinking water?

MTBE stands for Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether. MTBE is used as a gasoline additive to improve combustion and reduce vehicle exhaust emissions in certain parts of the country - mainly the east and west coasts. Ethanol is another gasoline additive that reduces vehicle exhaust emissions and is used mainly in the Midwest. The laboratory at the Water Purification Plant has tested all of the raw water sources (ground water and surface water) and the treated water for MTBE, and it has not been detected. Testing for MTBE will continue.

Why does the water taste different at times?

Sioux Falls uses both surface water and ground water as the raw water supply for the City. Surface water quality constantly changes due to environmental factors, such as when snow melts in spring or after heavy rains. We modify our treatment methods of the water during these times to improve the taste and odor of the water.

Why is my pressure so low?

Several things can temporarily cause reduced water pressure in your home:

  • Plugged or restricted screens on your faucets
  • Malfunctioning or partially closed water valves in your home
  • Water main breaks, fire fighting, and hydrant flushing may affect the pressure

What causes white water?

The presence of air bubbles may cause your water to appear white or cloudy. You can identify the problem as air by filling a glass with water. If the cloudiness rises from the bottom to the top of the glass, it is most likely air. This air is caused by seasonal temperature changes in the water.

What is the white film on my glasses, pans, and ice cube trays?

The white film is the calcium and magnesium in our water (hardness). These are naturally occurring minerals and do not pose a health risk. To remove the residue, try wiping or soaking the object with vinegar. Commercial products can also be used to remove the film that has built up on glassware.

What are disinfection by-products?

When chlorine is added to water, it reacts with the natural organic compounds which produces disinfection by-products (DBPs).

I am concerned about lead in my water.

The staff at the Water Purification Plant has tested water from over 100 different homes throughout the city for the past several years for both lead and copper. These homes are considered high risk for elevated lead levels because of their age (they have lead service lines), or lead solder was used on plumbing joints. None of the homes tested have been above the maximum contaminant level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) as established by the EPA.

What is Cryptosporidium?

Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite too small to be seen without a microscope. It is common in surface waters (lakes and rivers), especially when these waters contain high amounts of sewage or animal waste.

I have rust stains on my laundry: what can I do to remove them?

The Sioux Falls Public Works Division has available a product (sodium bisulfite) that will remove most rust stains from light colored clothing. It may "lighten" or fade bright colors so it should be spot tested before it is used on colored clothing. This product may also be used in dishwashers to remove rust stains from dishes and the interior of the dishwasher itself.

Additional tips and hints.

It is suggested that each homeowner flush out their water heater on an annual basis. This helps to remove sediment and build-up in the bottom of the water heater that will help your unit run more efficiently and may extend the life of your unit. Consult your owner’s manual on how to perform this and other maintenance procedures.