Filthy boiler

This is really just curiosity, since I'm leaving my apartment complex shortly & moving into my own house. But, the hot water in this place is often slightly brown. I mentioned it to a maintenance guy one day and he suggested it was the few remaining iron pipes. But, we were in the basement at that moment. I pointed out that the laundry tub is about 15' from the boiler, and that running the hot water for 5 minutes really ought to clear out an iron pipe, especially after 2 other neighbors had been doing warm & hot laundry loads just before that.
Is it possible for a circa-1970 boiler to actually have rust in the tank? If yes, and somebody gave a damn about the building, what sort of maintenance over the years would've eliminated or minimized the problem? By the way, I'm using the term "boiler" because the apartments have baseboard heating, and there's only one "thing" in the utility room.
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