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Brown Water From Taps? 5 Water Quality Issues Explained

19 September

Have you been surprised to discover brown water flowing from your tap? The brown water is sure to have sent you pondering if it’s a water quality issue or if there’s something wrong with your plumbing pipes. And now, you’re not sure if the drinking water you used from the tap the past days was safe or not.

In Australia, the water quality is excellent across the board. And even if it is brown water or another strange colour, it’s not likely dirty water will do your family any severe harm. Check out the helpful information put out by the City of Gold Coast to see if the colour or smell of your water is cause for alarm.

Five Water Quality Problems To Watch Out For

We’re not saying this is already what’s causing your brown water. But let’s not leave any stones unturned. Here are the five water quality problems you should watch for:

1. Brown water from taps

Brown, muddy or otherwise discoloured tap water can stain your washing. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to make you sick.

It might be disturbed sediment from a burst water main or pump or due to sudden high demand. Or it could be organic matter in the mains, rust from your old iron pipes, or manganese, a natural element that collects on the insides of your pipes.

It could be anything but iced tea suddenly flowing from your tap. It could be caused by:

  • A faulty network valve, valves opening or closing
  • Use of a water/fire hydrant by fire services or another third party
  • Laying a new supply pipe
  • Switching water back on following a mains repair or routine flushing of the network
  • Repairs, maintenance and upgrades to the mains network
  • Reverse flow

Sometimes, if you run that tap for a good 10-15 minutes, this process of ‘flushing’ can fix the problem of brown water.

2. Milky tap water

A milky colour in your glass of drinking water is probably no great cause for alarm. Usually, you see 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. It can cause water hammer and it can be a big problem!) and a release of carbon dioxide occurs. But remember, it could only be air.

3. Blue tap water

Blue or bluey-green or otherwise coloured water are 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.

But, the fix can be simple. A 2-3 minute flush before using the taps is quite often enough to clear the copper from the water.

4. Black bits in tap 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.

It is best to assume that these bits of your plumbing are not designed for drinking. It may not be poisonous, but it could be potentially hazardous. If the issue is a rusty pipe, this can indicate the presence of lead, which can cause several health problems.

So it’s the perfect time to call a local plumber!

5. Chemical or musty taste

If your water looks clear but tastes seriously off, there are almost certainly chemicals in your water that you don’t want to be there.

It could be that normal household chemicals have gotten into your water service lines via the backyard, causing a 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. Please don’t drink it to be safe, as your taste buds are an excellent detector of unhealthy things to consume!

How Do You Deal With These Water Quality Issues?

What You Should Do First When Faced With Any Of These Problems

Check with the neighbours. Ask around if they are experiencing a similar situation, whether they also have brown tap water or theirs are crystal clear. This will help you filter the cause for your brown tap water.

If your neighbours don’t have the same issue, check your home, plumbing and taps. See if the problem is the same for every cold tap or only occurs with a particular one. If it’s the latter, you can be almost sure you have corrosion in a nearby pipe, and that’s valuable information to tell your friendly plumber.

Don’t sweat it out and wait a few hours. So often, a dirty tap water problem can clear itself up after a few hours or days. But if it persists for longer than that, it probably won’t fix itself — and it’s time to call a certified local plumber who’ll know what to do.

Our skilled plumbers at Gold Coast Plumbing Company are qualified experts in every type of household plumbing problem. So for fast response time and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, call us to fix your water quality issues.

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