Refreshing, clean drinking water is devoid of any tastes and odors and does not pose any health risks. Maintaining the quality of portable water is highly important but unfortunately, external contaminants can mix in with portable water and contaminate the water supply. Here’s everything you need to know about the causes for unpleasant odors and tastes in water and how to remedy the situation.
Reasons for Bad Tasting Tap water
Bad tasting tap water could be due to numerous reasons. It is prudent to identify the source of the issue before moving on to a feasible solution. For instance, high concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS) or even corrosion of aged copper piping can lend a bitter taste to water. Similarly, the presence of untreated algae in pipes can lead to a musty, fishy taste in water. Likewise, the presence of minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc can leave a metallic taste in your mouth.
Chlorine is sometimes added to the city water to disinfect the water supply. However, an excess of chlorine can impair the taste of your tap water. Similarly, the presence of Hydrogen sulfide causes sulfur can leave a rotten egg smell in water and even impair the taste of your ta water. The best way to remove such tastes and odors. Especially those due to organic substances is to pass the water through a carbon filter or even install a whole house water conditioner.
If your Mineral drinking water supply has a salty tinge, it could be due to high concentrations of chloride ions. This is especially common in coastal regions. Sulfates present in soils can dissolve in water that flows through the earth to water supplies, and leave a saltish taste in water.
Reasons for Bad Smelling Tap water
Water that reeks of gasoline or diesel could be due to runoff from some nearby parking or driveways. The odor isn’t the only issue here, water that smells of gas incorporates plenty of hazardous chemicals that are detrimental to human life. If you notice such odors, it is best to have your water supply tested by a licensed professional or call your utility company to report the issue. Similarly, the presence of blue-green algae can cause a grassy or musty smell in drinking water, and even an unsavory fishy odor at higher concentrations.
Sometimes, sewage water can also mix in with the portable water supply due to a failing backflow preventer valve, and add an unsavory odor and taste to your drinking water. Bad odors can also stem from leaking, corroded pipes, or the presence of bacteria in the water heater. Aeration can rid your water of unsavory odors, such as the rotten-egg odor produced by hydrogen sulfide. Similarly, oxidizers such as ozone and chlorine dioxide are best at removing odor from water. Oxygen and potassium permanganate can also be added to water to eliminate all odors.
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How to Treat Contaminated Water?
Reverse osmosis is a process that eliminates contaminants from unfiltered water when pressure forces it through a semipermeable membrane. A Reserve Osmosis system has a sediment filter that traps rust and visible dirt particles, a carbon filter that eliminates chlorine, arsenic, fluoride, volatile organic compounds, and other contaminants, and a semi-permeable membrane that removes all Total Dissolved Solids. A RO system also helps to remove minerals dissolved in water that give it a metallic taste and smell. However, reverse osmosis is ineffective against bacteria and viruses.
Similarly, filters with granular activated carbon are best at eliminating organic chemicals from water. Especially ones like hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs odor) or chlorine, which lend an unpleasant taste and odor to the water. However, they are designed for bigger contaminants such as chlorine and are unable to eliminate inorganic materials. Such as heavy metals, minerals, and sulfates or smaller microorganisms from water.
The best way to get rid of microorganisms is to use Ultraviolet systems that leverage UV light to produce purified water for the entire house and remove harmful waterborne microorganisms. The main benefit of ultraviolet filtration is that it does not use any chemicals. Like chlorine and does not add any chemical taste or odor to the water. However, UV systems are only effective against microorganisms and prove useless against other contaminants, which is why they should be used with other filtration systems.