Turbidity of Water
Cloudiness, murkiness, or grayish water is usually caused by dissolved or suspended solids or excess air in the water; this can also be referred to as "turbidity". According to the USGS, Turbidity is the measure of relative clarity of a liquid and is a measurement of the amount of light that is scattered by the material in the water. The higher the turbidity, or cloudiness, usually means that there is a higher concentration of dissolved minerals, bacteria, or metals. It can be difficult to diagnose what exactly is causing the cloudiness of your water because it can be caused by many different things including excess air, dissolved minerals, bacteria, and metals, or other harmful pollutants.
What Causes Cloudy Water?
Tap water that appears to be cloudy or milky can often be attributed to excess air inside of the water. You may notice the hot water is often cloudier than cooler water due to the expanded molecules that allow more gasses to get trapped and take the form as small bubbled in the water. Turbidity caused by this will usually dissipate after a few minutes as the captured air bubbles rise to the surface and escape into the air.
Not all cloudy water is caused by excess air, but it can also be caused by metals, minerals, or bacteria, which can also tint the water different colors. This can be caused naturally or from land disturbances such as construction, storms and urban runoff. As the water makes it's way through the water system it comes into contact with different materials and minerals that can dissolve into the water.
Another common cause for homes with city water is a water main break, or construction on the water main leading to your home. If there is a water main break near your home, you may notice your water appears cloudy or dirty, this is often caused by sediment entering the water supply. To be sure that your water is safe to consume it should be filtered; boiling your water will not remove the sediment.
Effects of Cloudy Tap Water
If the cloudiness in your water is caused from trapped air inside your water, it is usually safe to drink. If the cloudiness is combined with a brown, yellow, or green color it may be caused by other contaminants it may not be safe to drink and may have adverse health effects, depending on the type of contaminant in the water. Turbidity caused by hard water can cause mineral buildup of water fixtures, in pipes, and other plumbing.
Solutions for Turbidity
Turbidity can often be solved by using a water filtration system, drinking water system or water softener. Depending on the cause of your cloudy water, different solutions may yield different results. One solution is Kinetico's K5 Drinking Water System that has multi-stage filtration and is proven to reduce the levels of contaminants in your water to a safe level for consumption. The K5 Drinking Water System is a point-of-use solution for one water faucet location, but Kinetico does offer whole home water treatment solutions, such as the Iron and Sediment filters.
Turbidity can be a sign of contaminants in your water, but even if your water appears clear, there may still be other types of contaminants or high levels of dissolved solids. We recommend having your water tested by your local Kinetico water expert and find a solution that is right for you.