Colors, odors and tastes—is your water changing with the seasons?

by Diana M Published 5.17.2013

Another spring is here, a time of change and wonderment. The landscape changes, the types of birds one sees and the songs they sing change. Everything seems to burst with renewed life, including some water supplies!

For well water users and some municipally supplied water users, a change in weather can create a change in water. And friends, change is not always good. Well water may change with a rainy season, which can introduce materials to the aquifer that had not previously been there. Some municipalities change the source of their water supply with the changing seasons and weather conditions. Often times, the supply is from a well, and a different well means different water. Even two wells on the same property can produce two entirely different types of water.

Illustration of colorful clouds over a home

In the spring and the fall, we can count on receiving calls from customers about this very thing. Common unwanted changes to the water include new colors, odors and tastes, which are produced by a variety of causes.

Irons’ reddish brown stains are probably the most familiar to us all. However, tannins—the result of rotting vegetation—cause staining very similar to iron. Shale, organics and manganese can result in black staining. These are just a few causes of color in water. If you find that you have any of these in your water supply, don’t despair; they can be treated.

Odor is another issue that can arise from the changing of seasons or weather. A concern we hear frequently is rotten egg smell resulting from sulfur. This can leave one wondering if an egg was missed in the Easter Egg Hunt. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and we have to admit it is the water. 

Anything that alters the color of water can alter the taste. As an example, iron may produce a metallic taste. We frequently hear from people that grew up on well water and not only expect but enjoy the mineral or metallic taste. If it wasn’t present in your water before, though, it might come as quite a shock.

We even get calls from people with water softeners. Now, you may be asking yourself why your water softener is allowing these changes to come through. A water softener is designed to remove calcium and magnesium. These are the hardness minerals that create scale in pipes, appliances, sinks and tubs. Often times, however, staining and odor require a different type of treatment.

Color, taste and odor can become a permanent part of your water supply or they may be passing with the seasons. Rest assured; with proper testing and treatment, your water can be brought back to normal in no time. Your local water treatment professional can advise you based on their experience as to whether it may be passing or permanent and provide the perfect solution for you.

Contact Diana M.

Why are boil water alerts so important?

by Cathy J Published 6.8.2012

A boil water alert (BWA) is issued when there is a threat of disease causing microorganisms such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium eDrinking Cautionntering a water system. Contamination can be caused by several different factors, most commonly due to water main breaks or severe flooding which might allow the possibility of foreign substances to enter the water system.  In less common instances a BWA can be issued when there is a significant change in the turbidity reading. A BWA is issued after careful consideration among representatives from public health, regulatory agencies and municipal departments. 

When there is a BWA, it will be broadcast on the local news (radio, television, web) with instructions on what to do and how long it will last. 

The best way to make sure your water is safe for drinking, cooking or brushing your teeth is to boil your water.  To effectively kill the disease causing organisms, boil the water for at least one to five minutes.  Allow water to cool before use.  The water will taste “flat” but will be safe to use.  If you are unable to boil your water, you can use bleach or iodine.  Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water.  Add 1/8 teaspoon of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected or boiled water in clean, air-tight containers with covers in the refrigerator. 

Hot (not boiled) soapy water will be sufficient for dishwashing and surface cleaning.  As a precaution, add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon. Unless specifically list in the BWA, laundry water and water for showering does not need to be treated.

Boil alerts are mostly for city and community water supplies.  If you have a well, you would want to boil your water after severe flooding or if your well pressure drops to almost non-existent (indicating a potential problem).  After correcting the problem or when the water recedes, it is recommended that you have your water tested by your local EPA certified laboratory to make sure it is safe to drink.

For a list of local certified laboratories or more information on safe drinking water, a very informative, reliable source is the EPA. 


Contact Cathy J.

Water: Understand it, Value it, Respect it. Learn more about life’s most vital resource.

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