Water-borne diseases can cause numerous health problems for humans and animals. If your tap water manifests these signs of contamination, you should contact the local water provider immediately.
Nowadays, there is so much technology that is designed to make almost all sources of water safe for human consumption, like wastewater recycling systems and agricultural water treatments. Still, contamination can end up in our water system, making our tap water unpotable and unsafe. So, how can you tell if your water is contaminated?
Here are a few signs that you should look out for:
1. Strange odors
Normal water is odorless, so when you detect an unusual odor coming from your water, do not drink it before making sure it’s safe. Strange smells in the water usually indicate the presence of substances such as:
- Sulfur – sulfur is not harmful to our health, but it can make water very unpleasant because it causes a rotten egg smell. Even though it is harmless, you should still get sulfur contamination treated to get rid of the unpleasantness.
- Moldy or fishy – if you smell a moldy, fishy, or grassy odor in your water, then you may have a bacterial overgrowth in your supply. Water with bacteria should not be used or drunk, as it can cause all sorts of water-borne diseases.
- Chlorine – traces of chlorine usually is okay. However, when the smell of chlorine becomes too strong or unpleasant, you should contact your local water supplier to test the water for high chlorine levels.
2. Weird Tastes
When your water starts tasting weird, it’s time to stop drinking it until you’ve found out what’s causing the unusual taste. Usually, strange tastes in the water are caused by:
- Sodium – water that tastes salty contains an excess amount of sodium in it. There’s no need to panic if you taste salt in your water. But you should get your water treated to avoid the sodium-rich water from affecting your health.
- Metals – if your water has a metallic or rusty taste, there may be high amounts of manganese, iron, lead, copper, or zinc, in your water. You can usually get rid of this problem by treating the buildup of minerals in your pipes with a water softener.
3. Colored Water
If your water suddenly has a different color, contact your water supplier immediately if it doesn’t flush out after a few minutes of running the tap. Look out for the following color changes:
- Black or brown – if the water turns black or brown, there is usually a buildup of manganese or sediments in the pipes.
- Green or blue – these colors are typically caused by corrosion in the pipes, which may stem from overly corrosive water.
- Brown, orange, red, or yellow – often caused by rust from steel, galvanized iron, or cast iron pipes. Although unpleasant, rusty water isn’t a health concern.
- White – water that becomes milky white or cloudy is usually caused by small air bubbles in the water, which is harmless.
Water is an absolute necessity in the home. And when there are problems with the water supply, it can mean health problems on top of the inconvenience. To determine if your water is safe to drink, make sure you know what different odors, colors, and tastes in the water mean.