It may never be at the top of our minds, but the water that comes out of our taps is really, really important. It washes our clothes, dishes and bodies and waters the lawn. But most importantly of all, it quenches the thirst of our beloved families or helps to make our food. So when it’s not crystal clear, alarm bells start to sound. Is their brown water coming out of your taps? Is it milky coloured? Other strange water discolouration or suspect quality? It can be alarming, but don’t worry quite yet!
Here are 5 water quality problems you should watch for:
No one wants to get thirsty and find that the water coming out tap is brown.
Brown, muddy or otherwise discoloured tap water can stain your washing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to make you sick. Dirty tap water is often caused by manganese, a natural element that collects on the insides of your pipes. Sometimes, if you just run that tap for a good 10-15 minutes, this process of ‘flushing’ can fix the problem. That’s because the manganese is loosened up because of the pressure, but the biggest risk is really to the whites in your washing!
Just like brown tap water is still safe for drinking, a milky colour in your glass is also probably no great cause for alarm.
Usually, you’re actually just seeing many tiny air bubbles that make their way into your glass after becoming trapped in your pipes. This can commonly happen after some plumbing work, or if a tap is suddenly discharged (but be careful at sudden discharge to stop water hammer – it can be a big problem!) and a release of carbon dioxide occurs. But remember, it’s just air – and air is harmless.
Blue or bluey-green or otherwise coloured water can be even more alarming, especially if that hue is also cloudy in appearance – and the taste itself can be metallic and bitter.
The metallic taste is probably copper which has come from your corroding pipes. It’s a common occurrence if the pipes haven’t been used for a long while. Be aware that copper is not safe to consume, even for the preparation of food. However, the fix can be simple, with a 2-3 minute flush before using the taps quite often enough to clear the copper from the water.
If your clean glass of water shows a lot of black, pepper-like specks floating around, it’s a sure sign that some of the gaskets, o-rings, and washers in your actual plumbing are starting to degrade.
Obviously, these bits of your plumbing are not designed to drink, so it’s the perfect time to call a local plumber!
If your water looks clear but it tastes seriously off, there are almost certainly chemicals in your water that you really don’t want to be there.
It could be that normal household chemicals have gotten into your water service lines via the backyard, causing the bad taste and sometimes even a smell as well. If the taste is particularly musty or earthy, it could even be blue-green algae, especially if it’s a warm time of the year. To be safe, don’t drink it as your taste buds are a great detector of unhealthy things to consume!
Luckily in Australia, the water quality is very good across the board, and even if it is a strange colour, it’s not likely to do your family any serious harm. Check out the useful information put out by the City of Gold Coast to see if the colour or smell or your water is cause for alarm.
So if your tap water is brown or otherwise strange, don’t panic. Ask your neighbours if they’re having the same issues, and if in doubt get in touch with the team at Gold Coast Plumbing Company! Cheers!