Common Water Quality Problems

Bacteria and Viruses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there could be as many as 12 million cases of waterborne acute gastrointestinal illness annually in the United States alone. These illnesses are frequently caused by bacteria, viruses and protozoa that make their way into the water supply. These contaminants can survive in the environment for months. Even state-of-the-art treatment plants cannot ensure that drinking water is entirely free of microbial pathogens. Bottled water may not offer any more safeguards against pathogens than tap water.

Chlorine Taste and Smell*

Chlorine is used as a disinfectant to kill harmful bacteria in water itself or the pipes that transport it. While chlorine in water is vital at the treatment plant and in the water distribution system, its benefits come with a cost. In addition to the bad taste and smell, it dries skin and hair, fades clothes and can shorten the lives of your appliances.

Cloudy Water (Turbidity)

Cloudy water is usually caused by dissolved or suspended solids. This condition can happen naturally or be caused by land disturbances such as construction, storms and urban runoff.

Earthy or Musty Taste and Smell*

These tastes and smells are usually the result of compounds released due to decayed vegetation and are typically associated with different forms of algae. While not toxic, they are unpleasant and can be offensive even at very low concentrations.

Hard Water 

As water seeps through the ground during the water cycle, it dissolves calcium, magnesium and other minerals. When water has high amounts of minerals, it’s considered “hard.” Hard water results in scale build-up in pipes and on plumbing fixtures, mineral stains and spotting on glassware, and soap build-up on shower walls and doors. Hard water also results in using more detergents, shampoo and soap in order for them to be effective. Hard water can become costly due to scale formation in water heaters, dishwashers and coffee makers, adding to repair and replacement costs.

Iron and Low pH Staining

Iron can cause rusty-orange or black staining. Water with a low pH will show blue-green stains. You’ll see these stains frequently on clothes, fixtures, sinks, tubs, water-using appliances and toilets.

Metallic Taste*

A metallic taste indicates the presence of metals such as iron, copper, manganese or zinc. Iron and manganese are often naturally occurring and are predominantly found in groundwater. Copper and zinc can come from an aging water distribution system or the corrosion of copper plumbing and brass fittings.

Rotten Egg Smell*

The smell of rotten eggs is usually a sign that your water contains hydrogen sulfide, a colorless corrosive gas. It can occur naturally deep in the ground or can be produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria. It can accelerate corrosion of metal parts in appliances. Because it is a gas, testing for it usually has to be performed onsite.

Scale

Calcium and magnesium are found in most water supplies; when the water enters your home and is heated, it forms a scale build-up. Scale is obvious on shower doors and fixtures, but it will also form in places you can’t see such as water pipes and hot water-using appliances.

*A Note About Problematic Water Tastes and Smells

In its pristine state, water is colorless, tasteless and odorless. If your water contains any odd tastes or smells, let us help you find out why – bring a water sample to us today and have it analyzed for free! Many people turn to bottled water as a solution for their poor drinking water conditions, but in the end bottled water is more costly to you and harmful to our environment on many levels. A Healthy Water system is more affordable than you may think. If you have been shopping around for a water treatment system, bring us any competitor’s written quote and we will beat it by at least 20%.