Bad taste & odor

In 2015 the Water Quality Association published a study called the Consumers’ Opinion & Perceptions Regarding Water Quality. The survey found that bottled water use was on the rise. A major reason for this, was that 41% of consumers were dissatisfied with their tap water’s taste and odor. Let’s look at it more closely.

What causes bad taste in tap water?

Help, my water tastes metallic!

Old water infrastructure can be a cause of metallic tastes in water. In the 1970s lead soldering was a popular way of installing water pipes. It was banned in 1986, but many old pipes remain. Water with a low pH can also develop a metallic taste. The low pH makes the water acidic and aggressive, it will try to leech minerals out of the water pipes. Some softeners can lead to low pH in water.

My water has an awful chlorine or chemical taste!

In some parts of the world, the water tastes of chlorine. Chlorine (bleach) is a very popular disinfection chemical, and is widely used. If not properly regulated, chorine can be over used, and can lead to a bad chemical taste in your water.

Why does my water taste salty?

A salty taste can mean that sodium or chloride is present in your water. Sodium can come from water softeners, where salt is used to neutralize calcium. Depending on where your water comes from, it might also be that sulfates found in the ground water are responsible.

My water has a sort of dirt taste …

An organic or moldy tasting water can be very common. High organics from surface waters can lead to an earthy taste. Geosmin, which is naturally occurring and produced by bacteria after algae decay, can be the cause of a dirt taste. Also, broken water pipes can lead to brown water events and earthy water. Often the water will have a brown/green tinge.

What causes odor in tap water?

Usually, its actually the odor in the water we ‘taste’. Many of the reasons can be found listed above. Another common source of odor in water is hydrogen sulfide gas. This rotten egg smell, is a result of anaerobic bacteria present in the water. So if your water smells like sewerage, you probably have a bacteria problem in your water. If the smell is only when using the hot water, then you probably have bacteria growth in your water heater. This can all lead to illness, and should be solved immediately.