faucet in kitchen with water dripping

The contamination of the drinking water supply in Flint, MI, has heightened water quality awareness in communities across the U.S., including right here in South Central Pennsylvania. Many of us are now paying closer attention to the appearance of our tap water. However, depending on the reason for the change, off-color tap water may or may not be cause for concern.

Why is My Tap Water Discolored?

There are several factors that can affect the appearance of tap water and potentially alter its color:

  • Change in water supply source: The Flint crisis is an example of how a change in water supply source can affect water color and quality. In 2014, the city switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River as its primary water source. Inadequate treatment procedures for the river water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the public water supply, resulting in discoloration and contamination.
  • Organic matter: Materials such as dirt, sediment and minerals (calcium or magnesium) can accumulate in water mains over time, which can cause tap water to turn a brownish color. Brown water typically is not contaminated, although public experts indicate that you should not drink it.
  • Corrosion: Copper plumbing pipes can corrode as they age, this causes water to turn bluish-green and can leave stains on your plumbing fixtures. High levels of copper in the water supply also poses health concerns. If your community’s water system uses pipes made of galvanized steel, iron or cast iron, the rust from these pipes will cause the water to turn red, orange or yellow.
  • Air bubbles: You may have cause to ask, “Why is my tap water cloudy?”. Typically, tap water will look milky or white due to trapped air that forms bubbles in the bottom of a drinking glass. If you allow the glass to set for a few minutes, the water becomes clear. However, if you have well water that maintains a milky appearance you should have your system checked by a water treatment professional.
  • Pollution: A polluted water supply can result in discoloration. There are several possible causes of water pollution such as pesticides (which can be an issue in South Central PA agricultural communities), chemical dumping and residue from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) mining operations.

What Do You Do If You Notice Discolored Tap Water?

While discolored tap water is often harmless, you shouldn’t ignore it if it occurs. Start by contacting your neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same issues. If so, there could be a problem with the water supply in your area, and you should get in touch with your local government officials or water company. If it appears you’re the only one with off-color water, have a water treatment professional conduct testing to determine the cause.

Haller Enterprises Will Handle Your Water Testing and Treatment Needs

If you live in or near Pennsylvania cities such as Lancaster, Carlisle, Lebanon, York, Exton, or Quakertown, Haller Enterprises will conduct comprehensive testing to identify the cause of your water problem. Once the issues is identified, Haller will fix it using the appropriate water treatment method – water softening, reverse osmosis, water neutralization, UV light implementation.

Don’t let the question, “Why is my tap water a strange color?” keep you awake at night. Contact Haller today to schedule a water supply testing appointment.

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