Norfolk County carefully monitors the quality of water in each of our five drinking water systems. To read the compliance reports on each town, visit our Compliance and Water Reports page.

Click on any of the following to learn more

Yellow or Rust Coloured Water
Water main repairs, construction and other maintenance work in an area can cause some rust and scale products, which normally adhere to the inside of the water main, to break away. Operating fire hydrants can also cause this. The discoloured water is safe to drink, but the water may appear dirty or may stain your laundry.

If your water is yellow or rusty coloured, run your cold water tap for 5-10 minutes, or until the water clears. If the water does not run clean, locate a tap before any internal treatment equipment such as water softeners or filters. Run the tap and see if there is coloured water present. If the water is clear before the internal treatment system, the issue is likely within the internal treatment system and will require the services of a licenced tradesperson.

If there is coloured water both before and after any internal treatment systems and it does not clear through flushing the lines, call ServiceNorfolk at 519-426-5870 or 226-NORFOLK.

Taste and smell of drinking water
Water naturally varies in taste and odour at different times of the year. It may smell or taste different, especially late in summer or early fall. This is usually the result of algae growth in the lake, partially caused by the change of the season. Different types of algae can cause water to taste and smell musty. Although the taste and odour can be unpleasant, it is not considered to be a public health problem.

Refrigerating the water helps eliminate the odour and adding lemon slices or utilizing a water pitcher filter may help remove any bad taste. Water may also taste stale if it has been sitting in the incoming pipes or internal plumbing for too long. Flushing out the pipes in your home by turning on all of your taps at the same time for a few minutes may get rid of the bad taste.

Cloudy Water
Sometimes when water comes from your tap, it may appear cloudy or milky but clears up within a few minutes.

If this is the case, take a clear glass and fill it with fresh tap water. If the water appears to clear in the bottom of the glass first, the cloudiness is due to air bubble in the water. This is completely harmless.

A series of images of a glass of water showing the water clearing from milky white to clear from the bottom up.

If the water in the glass clears from the top down or does not clear up, contact ServiceNorfolk at 519-428-5870 to report a water quality concern.

Water Hardness

Water hardness is calculated using the calcium and magnesium concentration in the water. It is expressed as mg/L as calcium carbonate or in Grains per gallon (imperial or US). One grain per imperial gallon equals 14.25 mg/L as calcium carbonate and one grain per US gallon equals 17.1 mg/L as calcium carbonate.

Below is a summary of the average hardness in each distribution system. There is variability within the distribution system, however, so be sure to test your water if you need an exact hardness value for your home.


Hardness (mg/L)
Hardness (grains/US gallon)
Delhi and Courtland
Port Dover
Port Rowan
How do I report a water quality concern?
If you are concerned about your water quality, call ServiceNorfolk at 519-426-5870 or 226-NORFOLK Ext 0.