Signs Your Water May Be Contaminated

Updated on June 27, 2022

Many things can contaminate your water, making it unsafe to drink. Drinking contaminated water can have long-term effects on your health. Seeing as you cannot survive without drinking water, you need to clean it to make it safe.

Industrial waste is a major cause of pollution whereby toxic waste is drained into water sources. Water that has been used in households can also become dangerous, since it usually goes back to other water sources without being treated first. For instance, the case of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune led to various health problems, including different types of cancers, renal toxicity, miscarriages, and other chronic diseases.

To ensure your water is safe for drinking, you need to check it for contaminants, so you can find ways to treat it. Here are some common signs that could suggest your water is contaminated and unsafe for drinking:

  1. Strange Taste

One of the ways you can tell that your water has been contaminated is through the taste. If the water from all the taps tastes strange, then the water supply is the problem. A salty taste is caused by high levels of sodium, magnesium, or potassium in the water.

This problem mainly occurs in coastal areas where seawater seeps into your water supply. A metallic taste is usually caused by iron or copper leaching from the pipes to your water. You should contact the appropriate agency since this could be a health threat. You should also switch to bottled water for cooking and brushing your teeth until the issue is addressed.

  1. Unusual Smell

Strange smells in water usually mean that it is contaminated. Rotten egg odor can be caused by bacteria growing in your drains or naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide. You can determine the source of the smell by putting water in a glass, stepping away from the sink, and then smelling it.

It could also be coming from your water heater, since it has an element that produces a sulfide smell. This element to protect your heater from corrosion produces the smell as it deteriorates over time. If you can rule out the drains and heater, you should avoid using the water and contact your local health agency.

  1. It Looks Different

Any change in the color of water could be an indication of contamination. Water turns blue or green as a result of corrosion of copper plumbing. Metals like copper and lead can lead to health complications if they get into your drinking water. Manganese causes your water to turn black or dark brown. You should contact your water provider if it doesn’t clear within a few hours after flushing. Red, orange, and yellow water results from iron dust from your pipes or the main source. This could damage your clothes and fixtures, but it doesn’t present any health risk.


Contaminated water can result in a wide range of health problems, from cancer to miscarriages and stomachaches. Exercise various measures to prevent your water from being contaminated. You should not flush pills or any other medications down the drain.

This is because they contain chemicals that destroy the quality of natural water systems. Make sure that you have proper sewage treatment. This is because most of this wastewater ends up in water sources like oceans, lakes, and rivers. If you get your drinking water from a private water source like a well, you need to get it tested for bacteria, dissolved solids, and ph levels.

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