How Do You Tell if Your Tap Water is Contaminated?

Your tap water is one of the most-used things in your house. Whether we drink it, shower in it, wash clothes with it, or brush our teeth with it, it’s an essential part of our lives. This fact makes it important to know if and when our water is contaminated. 

Modern water filters and water regulation through our towns have made the water very safe in many places, but there’s always a chance for contamination, especially in more rural settings where large areas of land may share miles upon miles of pipe that doesn’t regularly see servicing. Sometimes the contamination isn’t even city-wide but unique to your home due to groundwater contamination leaching into well water on your property. 

It can be challenging to know what to look for when watching for contamination in your water. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the warning signs that your water may be contaminated and what you can do to remedy the situation.

#1. Watch for Strange Tastes and Smells.

Your taste buds are designed to protect you from dangerous foods, liquids, and many other things, including poor-quality water. If your water tastes oily, fishy, metallic, or bitter, you might want to schedule a water quality analysis. 

In particular, you’ll know when you have extra sulfur in your water when it smells like rotten eggs. Sulfur is a natural-occurring mineral, and it’s commonly found in many water systems. The mineral isn’t usually harmful, but in larger quantities, it can negatively affect your health. If you smell sulfur from your tap water, it’s time to call a water purification specialist.

#2. Do You Smell Chlorine or Have Flat Baked Goods?

If your water tastes and smells like a swimming pool, you may have too much chlorine in it. Chlorine is placed in our water supplies to kill bacteria or any other harmful microorganism. Typically, the levels aren’t dangerous, but it can make your water taste awful. If the smell is noticeable, then levels are likely too high.

When cooking your favorite bread recipe, the dough is supposed to rise. But if it’s coming out flat, your water might be to blame. Chlorine not only kills harmful bacteria, but it can also kill good bacteria found in yeast that makes the dough rise.

Keep an eye out for these issues and contact your municipality if you notice excess chlorine in your system. Likewise, consider a drinking water purification system for your home to ensure that no matter what the state of your area’s tap water is, your home provides only clean, fresh water.

#3. Is Your Water Pressure Low, or Do You Have Cloudy Water?

If your water pressure has decreased, your pipes may be clogged. Corroded pipes build up with sediment and scale. Sadly, you may have to run new expensive copper or PVC plumbing. It’ll be worth it, though, when your water quality improves exponentially. 

In addition, many water systems don’t filter minerals and other natural substances. Though these substances are largely harmless to your health, they can give your water a  foamy or cloudy look. 

On the contrary, if the clouds and foam don’t disappear over time, they could be caused by bacteria present in your pipes or reservoir. In this case, you should get your water tested immediately and determine the best course of action to restore safe drinking and bathing water to your home. 

#4. Watch For Dirt, Sediment, and More. 

If your water has sand, dirt, clay, or other sediments mixed in your tap water, or you see it settling at the bottom of your sink, you don’t need to panic. These sediments are usually harmless—they’re just unpleasant. 

When it comes to spots and stains, you might have “hard” water. Some parts of the U.S. have naturally hard water, which holds a large amount of magnesium and calcium. Hard water is not dangerous, but it can cause your soap not to lather, affect your dish soap’s effectiveness, and make your skin itchy or irritated. 

Hard water can also cause scale deposits on glassware and spotting on clothing. This can also occur in plumbing, which shortens the lifespan of your boiler, water heater, and other appliances. If you deal with hard water, look into a whole house water refiner or softener and save your clothes, skin, dishes, and pipes from scale and buildup. 

#5. Watch For Discoloring.

Brown and orange hues to your water could be caused by excessive manganese or iron in your water. Usually, this is caused by mining or excavation near water supplies. If this doesn’t seem to be the case, your water pipes might be rusty. You can contact a water test lab to test your water for these things. 

#6. The Government Keeps You Informed.

Ninety percent of American homes get their water through a public system. The government alerts you when there is an issue with public water, especially in the case of unsafe situations.

The government will also tell you if there’s anything you should do, including switching to bottled water and boiling your water. 

If your water comes from a private well, you will have to check it yourself and make sure it is safe with routine testing from a water testing company. 

What To Do If Your Water is Contaminated

If you suspect contamination, you should immediately contact your public water utility company and municipality. It could be a problem for more people than just you. Likewise, do not drink water that you suspect may be contaminated. Switch to bottled or otherwise filtered water for the time being.

Contact Us For Help With Your Water

Your home’s water should be safe and healthy for everyone in your household. At Independent Water Service, you can get cleaner, clearer drinking water today with an EcoWater drinking water purification system. We proudly service all of Yakima and Kittitas counties. 

You are just a call away from purer and healthier water. Contact us today to schedule your free water quality test and rest assured your water is pure.