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Why Your Drinking Water Is Funky or Foul (and How to Fix It)

WHY YOUR DRINKING WATER IS FUNKY OR FOUL (AND HOW TO FIX IT) OH NO, H20! It wasn't until Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974 that the EPA could set national limits on specific contaminants in tap water. AAA AAA In U.S. water supply more then 60,000 chemlcals are used 10 contaminants There have been no extra chemicals added to the list that is The Act covers 91 contaminants regulated by the Safe Drinking water act for 17 years. = 10,000 chemicals (but tens of thousands of chemicals go unmonitored). 10 million Americans Since 2004, more than 62 million Americans have been exposed to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline. WATER WORRIES Why does my water smell like sulfur? POSSIBLE CAUSES Sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide Sulfur bacterla thrive in oxygen- Feeds on decaying organic matter and creates hydrogen sulfide gas deficient environments such as: • Deep wells • Gas gets trapped in the water, causing the odor • Plumbing systems Building's water heater Sulfur smell may only occur when Produces hydrogen sulfide gas, which you use hot water. • Due to reactions caused by becomes trapped in the magneslum rod and the water, causing aluminum in water heater the odor WHAT TO DO Have water sources tested for Check for proper ventlation the correct levels of chemicals so gas can escape and bacteria FOR SMELLS RELATED TO WATER HEATERS Contact a water system professlonal who can either: Replace the magnesium anode Flush the heater with a chlorine bleach solution Outfit your home with a water filtration system to eliminate impurities. Especially beneficial if your water comes from a still source Why does my water smell like sewage? POSSIBLE CAUSES Presence of bacteria that comes from: Bacteria causes a heavy gas to fill the drain near the sink. Food Soap • When the water is turned on the gas Is forced upwards and into the air around the sink. Other materials sitting • This makes it seem like the water smells. in your draln Building's water heater If sewage smell only occurs when you use hot water Likely from bacterla growing Bacteria should not be in the hot water heater harmful to you Bacterla growth can happen If: Hot water heater Hot water is turned off for temperature s too low an extended perlod Bacteria needs to be ellminated to remove the smell Hydrogen sulfide You will likely notice a strong Although rare high levels of this gas can be toxic smell before the gas reaches toxic levels Humans can detect hydrogen sulfide at as low as .5 parts per million (PPM). Anything less than 1 PPM will have a musty smell. Anything between 1-2 PPM will have a rotten egg smell. WHAT TO DO TO DETERMINE IF YOUR PIPES ARE THE CAUSE IF YOUR HOT WATER HEATER IS THE CAUSE Turn up the hot water temperature for up to 24 hours and run the hot water taps to Fill a clean glass of water, walk away from the faucet, and then smell the water. flush the pipes out. IF WATER DOES NOT SMELL: THE PIPES AND TO DETERMINE IF YOUR WELL IS THE CAUSE DRAIN ARE LIKELY THE CAUSE. Contact your local water testing lab to have water To clean bacteria inside your drain, disinfect the sink and pipes. source tested for contaminants. Use a small amount of The well may contain soap and a small brush to clean the sink and the hydrogen sulflde. pipes inside your drain. Why does my water smell like rotten eggs? POSSIBLE CAUSES Building's Water Sulfur bacteria and Heater hydrogen sulfide If the rotten egg smell only occurs when you use hot water, this can be caused by chemical reaction occurring Can be found in a building's water supply inside your hot water heater WHAT TO DO IF YOUR HOT WATER HEATER IS THE CAUSE IF THE SMELL OCCURS WITH COLD AND HOT WATER, BUT ONLY FROM WATER TREATED BYA WATER SOFTENER Contact a trained boiler The problem is likely sulfur bacterla in the water softener. inspector. Change the water softener solution. IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT IS IN YOUR WATER, PURCHASE A WATER TEST KIT ONLINE THAT WILL CHECK LEVELS OF: Hydrogen sulfide Sulfur bacteria Sulfate Iron bacteria Why does my water taste like salt? POSSIBLE CAUSES High concentration of chloride ions in water source Can be caused by industrial waste, irrigation drainage, or seawater entering a local water supply Can corrode pipes and discolor stainless steel sinks High concentration of sulfates Magneslum sulfate and sodlum sulfate may cause water to taste like sallne • Can occur naturally in some • Also caused by road-salt soll and rock runoff Into reservolrs Makes way into local water supply as groundwater or rainwater moves through the earth > Common during winter due to melting snow and rain More than 500 mg/L of sulfates in water may produce a laxative effect WHAT TO DO HAVE WATER TESTED TO DETERMINE THE IF YOUR WATER COMES FROM A PRIVATE WELL SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM The EPA may not have the If water comes from a public drinking supply: authority to test your water. • Visit to find a water testing lab Only use laboratories that conduct are certified drinking water tests. near you TO FIND A CERTIFIED LABORATORY A state certification Local health IN YOUR STATE, CONTACT: officer department Why does my water smell like fish? POSSIBLE CAUSES Naturally occurring, organic material found at your building's water source Ba Barlum is a metal that exists i mineral Cadmlum also finds its ores and can seep into wells and pipes, causing a foul smell in your drinking water. way into pipes through industrial waste or fertilizer Cd contamination. • The EPA manages the amount in public water in order to keep it below the recommended level. Combination of chlorine and ammonia Together they create a compound Often used to disinfect public called chloramine. water sources Algal blooms Water treatment plants rid the water of the algae, but the This can be the cause if the smell is noticed in the summertime. that cause the smell can sometimes be detected by those who are sensitive to musty smells. Lakes and reservolrs often see an increase in algae blooming during warm, sunny weather. These particles don't pose any direct threat to your health. WHAT TO DO IF ORGANIC MATERIAL IS THE CAUSE A professional may recommend increasing chlorine levels in your water source or well to balance the organic material. Try flushing the pipes to rid them of any For public water sources: Contact For private well: debris or loose Call a speclallst contaminants. the public water that can come company. inspect your well. TO DETERMINE IF YOUR WELL OR PIPES ARE THE ISSUE FIll a clean glass of water, If water smells fishy: The cause is likely walk away from the faucet, organic material in the pipes rather than and then smell the water. contamination from the well. Why does my water smell like bleach? POSSIBLE CAUSES Chlorine Public water sources are treated with chlorine, which can make drinking water smell llike bleach. This is a cruclal part of Small amounts of chlorine are added to water treatment. water to eliminate: Usually occurs when water is over-chlorinated • Bacteria • Viruses • Parasites WHAT TO DO TO ELIMINATE THE BLEACH SMELL Refrigerate water Boll water Boil for about flve minutes to FIll a pitcher or jug with tap water. remove the odor. Store water in fridge. Cover it and put it in the refrigerator. Drink the water after it has chilled Use dechlorination tablets In water for a while. Can remove chlorine from up The smell will dissipate naturally. to 100 gallons e water with one tablet Don't drink if it sits for more than Also works with 24 hours. vitamin C tablets If the smell Is severe, contact your local utllty company. Why does my water smell musty? POSSIBLE CAUSES Sediment leaching into the plumbing system Decaying organic matter can This produces an earthy aroma. work its way into water supplies. Erosion in pipes A potentially more May cause trace amounts of copper, This can affect water's smell serious cause is Iron, or lead to and taste the presence of hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacterla appear in water Hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacteria Usually not harmful Helghtened levels of either may indicate: • Harmful sewage • Pollution These require Immediate attentlon WHAT TO DO Use a quality water dispenser with filtration. Musty-smelling water is generally • Filtration ellminates metallic particles and reduces sedimentary content and sulfur bacteria. safe to use. Why does my water taste like metal? POSSIBLE CAUSES Presence of metal content Common trace metals that contaminate water: • Iron • Manganese • Zinc • Copper Older, rusty city pipes or older residential pipes Particularly Pipes made of brass, If your pipes are from the early 1900s: Check if they are made of those made copper, or galvanized from Iron. steel have a lfespan of 80-100 years. lead to ensure no lead is contaminating your water. Seepage or corrosion Likely cause if your water source is well water Low pH (potential hydrogen) levels Neutral Acid Low pH levels or "soft water"" can pH levels measure the acldity or give water a sour or acid-like 61234 SG7SODn 204 alkaline qualities of a substance. taste, similar to metal. A pH level below 7 will have a 6.5 to 8.5 is the normal pH range. more acidic taste. pH scale WHAT TO DO Have your water tested; find a local water testing lab at Make a note of the taps. the EPA website. Report this to a professional or plumber. Note if the taste is only from certaln taps. By keeping a close eye on your water's taste and smell as well as having it tested, you can be proactive in keeping your family safe and healthy. SOURCES BROUGHT TO IN PARTNERSHIP waterlogic YOU BY WITH Better thinking Better woter. GHERGICH&Co.

Why Your Drinking Water Is Funky or Foul (and How to Fix It)

shared by Ghergich on Jan 20
Is there something a little off about your H2O? If your water tastes or smells abnormal, take a look at this guide for potential culprits. We also included tips on what to do to fix the problem.


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