Is Cloudy Tap Water Safe to Drink?

You come home from a long run or a day working in the yard thirsty beyond compare, so you walk to the faucet to grab a nice refreshing glass of water, only to find your tap water is cloudy and very unappetizing. No one wants to drink opaque water when they are incredibly thirsty. While the issue causing the cloudiness may not necessarily be harmful, it can come with its own set of issues and sometimes, even its own strange odors. 

This article will take you through the most common causes of cloudy tap water and how you can fix it so you can not only see clearly, but drink clearly as well.

Reasons for Cloudy Tap Water

Air Bubbles

Air bubbles are completely harmless when it comes to cloudy water. A test you can do to make sure the issue is just air bubbles is to fill a glass up, set it down and leave it for a few minutes. The water should eventually clear up and if it does, then air bubbles are the cause of the temporary cloudiness. There are several factors that could make your water have air bubbles, such as air trapped in plumbing, an increase in water pressure, or if you’ve had any recent work done on your plumbing. 

How to Fix: Since air bubbles are harmless and dissipate in a few moments, there is no need to do anything to fix it. If it continues after a time and starts to bother you, you can call your local water service or plumber to install an air elimination valve. 

Hard Water

Unlike your dissipating air bubbles, cloudy water caused by hard water will not eventually turn clear. Cloudy water due to hard water will remain cloudy and it can even start to affect other parts of your household as well, such as leaving spots on dishes, mineral deposits on your appliances, and sediment in your pipes. This cloudiness means your water has a high amount of minerals in it, normally calcium and magnesium. Hard water can also affect your laundry, dishes and skin as well. 

How to Fix: Have a reliable water specialist come and install a reverse-osmosis filtration system or similar. This will take out all the extra minerals in your water and make it clear and great tasting as it will remove any odd tastes your water may have had as well. The plus side with a filtration system is that it removes bacteria and other chemicals in your tap water as well. You can also add a water softener to the filtration system to help with softening up the water and making your skin, laundry, dishes and pipes feel and look cleaner as well.

Turbid Water (TSS)

Increased turbidity is another reason for cloudy water. Suspended solids are a more serious issue because they can have sediment, minerals, bacteria or other contaminated. You may be able to see solid pieces floating around that never fall to the bottom of the glass (total suspended solids or TSS.) 

Turbid water can be unhealthy and it is important to get your water tested and filtered right away if you think this is the problem. Turbidity can also cause build-up in your plumbing fixtures and even your water heater, which can end up causing you money. A bad taste might follow turbid water as well. It is difficult to tell if the water is contaminated without an expert opinion, so you should get it tested as soon as possible. 

How to Fix: For low-to-medium cloudiness, a standard filter is fine, but for more serious cloudiness and solids, you will want to call and get a filtration system installed. 

Methane Gas

If your water is supplied by a well, either private or city, and it is cloudy that may mean that it contains methane gas. Methane gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless and it can show up occasionally in well water, causing it to become cloudy or milky. The US Department of the Interior has guidelines of what levels are considered to be safe to drink. If your levels are over 28 mg/L, then you should take immediate action to remedy the issue. 

How to Fix:  If you suspect your tap water may have methane gas issues, contact the local water department or water services specialist and have your water tested. 

Cloudy Tap Water? Call IWS for Filtration Solutions

At Independent Water Service, our installation experts can recommend and install the right water softener system for your specific needs. 

We offer free water analysis and help you choose which system works for you. Our free water analysis checks for softness, impurities and other factors that may affect your household or business’ water. We offer systems for both residential and commercial spaces.

We proudly serve Yakima and Kittitas Counties and have been your local trusted water service since 1986. Call to schedule your free water analysis and upgrade your water system for your home or business with the water experts.