Blue and Green Water Stains – What Do They Mean and Are They Dangerous?

You may have noticed a yellowish-brown or dingy stain on your plumbing fixtures or the darker stains resulting from rust, but have you ever seen blue or green stains? These stains occur when the pH level of your water is too low. Although it’s a very common problem, you should get it resolved quickly to avoid damage to your home or your health.

The source of the contamination needs to be identified to get the proper filtration system in place. That’s why it’s essential to contact a professional plumber to ensure the issue is resolved correctly and promptly. This article will explain the cause of these stains, how it affects your home and health, and what you can do to stop them.

The Cause of Blue and Green Water Stains

Blue and green staining is usually the result of corroded copper or brass (an alloy of copper & zinc) fittings. If the plumbing system in your home uses copper or brass pipes, these stains can indicate that the metal is corroding and dissolving into your water.

If your plumbing system is new, you may notice these stains until an oxidizing coating builds up on the inside of the pipes. You should find that it resolves within about a year. However, corrosive water could be the culprit if you have an older plumbing system.

High chloride levels can corrode metal plumbing. As chloride levels increase, water’s electrical conductivity increases, leading to corrosion. Coastal areas often see high levels of chloride due to saltwater. However, they can also result from pollution from septic systems or road salt, or salt deposits in groundwater. 

How To Know What is Causing Your Stains

Pinhole leaks in copper plumbing, blue and green stains on your fixtures, and pitting in your pipes signal corrosive water. Water may also taste or smell bad if too much dissolved copper is in it. While corrosion and acidic water can be the cause, you should also be aware that you could have lead in your water.

A water analysis is the best way to determine what exactly is in your water. It will test to ensure that the pH range is normal (between 6.5-8.5), if there is copper in the water, and if your chloride level is too high.

How Does Corrosive Water Affect Your Home?

The lower the pH level of water, the more corrosive it is. If water has a pH level of 6.8 or lower, it is considered corrosive and can damage metal surfaces. And if the chloride level in your water is over 250 ml/L, it exceeds the EPA’s maximum contamination level for chlorides and is considered corrosive.

Is Your Health at Risk?

The health risks of water that leaves blue or green stains are related to the water’s corrosiveness and contaminants in the water. Here are the risks involved in each situation.

Low pH Water

Acidic water can contain copper, lead, nickel, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, and zinc. Exposure to heavy metals can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Immune system suppression
  • Organ damage.

Water with a pH of 4.5 or less is considered severely acidic. Acidic water can also erode tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay.

Copper in Water

Copper is a mineral that your body needs to stay healthy. But, as with anything, too much can be harmful. Excessive copper consumption can lead to:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Liver Damage
  • Kidney Disease

Babies under the age of one and those with Wilson’s disease have an extreme sensitivity to copper and cannot quickly eliminate excess copper. And water with over 1300 mcg per liter of copper is a risk to everyone. In addition, copper can be harmful to animals, especially fish.

Chloride in Water

Water may smell bad and have a salty taste if the chloride levels are over 250 mg/L. However, higher levels can lead to complications for people with existing heart problems and contribute to high blood pressure.

How is Corrosive Water Treated?

After discovering the cause of your water issues, you can effectively implement a solution to resolve the problem. From an EACW Alkaline/Remineralizing system to increase the pH level of your water, to a chlorine taste and odor filter, or a reverse osmosis system, your plumbing professional can recommend the system that will best suit your needs.

Let Independent Water Service Clear Up Your Water

Independent Water Services, Inc. has been in the business of clean, fresh water for almost four decades. We are an EcoWater dealer and specialize in water softening, purification, filtration, drinking water, and we also offer ultraviolet lights and deionization. Our technicians will test your water and recommend, install, and maintain a water system to improve your water. 

If you’re ready for cleaner, clearer water in your home, schedule your FREE water analysis today.