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Does Your Tap Water Have A Weird Odor? Here’s What Might Be Causing It

Chances are that at some time in your life you will encounter an unpleasant smell coming from your tap water source. The first step is to identify if there is a problem within your household or city water supply and then find out what kind of service or solution might be able to fix the problem. Among several possibilities, the types of contaminants that cause bad smells include yeast growths, fermentation byproducts, sewer gases, and bacterial contamination. Each type of substance has different treatment methods so knowing exactly what’s causing the odor can help determine a course of action for a fix. 

Unfiltered Water

If what you’re experiencing smells like sewage then it is likely that there is a faulty connection between your home and an outdoor drain. A small hole in materials such as gravel, clay, or plastic can allow for the infiltration of bacteria and organisms from your septic system into the groundwater and your drinking water supply. This type of problem is common with homes near agricultural or industrial zones where heavy machinery can cause cracks in solid surfaces and damage roads and drains (not to mention the infrastructure itself). Residents of Orange CA, can contact a water purification expert to help you clean and maintain their home’s water system and prevent future contamination. 

A water purification system can eliminate bacteria, yeast, and other harmful agents that cause odor problems in drinking water.

Another source for bad smells includes hydrogen sulfide gas. With this substance, the chemical composition of your tap water will have an “egg” smell to it – if not more so. Some people might be able to smell the rotten eggs before others but it is still detectable. This can be caused by algae blooms or by bacterial growth associated with decomposing plant material, similar to that found near sewer lines or septic tanks. Hard water can also contribute to added sulfur content in drinking water because the dissolved minerals create sulfates which are usually harmless unless they are present in very high concentrations. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize their problems stem from this area since they do not understand the ecology of their household wastewater systems. The good news is that if you can pinpoint which parts of your drain are compromised then you can follow the appropriate steps to fix it.

Fixing a Sewer Line Problem

If you do not have an outdoor drain and your water is still having bad odors then it is likely that there are problems with your sewer lines. The two most common causes for this problem include “back-pressure” in the lines or leakage of the mainline into other drains near your home. For back pressure, you will need to contact a professional plumber who can figure out where the backup is originating so they can clear out the blockage. You may also want to purchase some enzymes or bacterial agents at hardware stores that can be poured down your drains so they work on dissolving clogs without any hazardous chemicals and smell better. 

Food Particles

One of the first reasons that can possibly cause bad smells coming from your tap is food particles decomposing in wastewater pipes. Bacteria and yeast are natural elements found in our waste systems that eat up most of the organic materials we come into contact with daily, mainly consisting of sugars, fats, oils, and starches. This process happens quickly with high-carbohydrate meals but can happen slowly over time with low-carbohydrate items like meat. The latter will produce an unpleasant smell as it breaks down inside your home’s plumbing system or city water supply pipes.

Yeast Growths

Yeast growths within municipal piping are also common for homes that have water heaters. Adding hot tap water to cold pipes can cause yeast growths, which feed on the minerals in your water supply and release sulfurous gasses that smell like rotten eggs, similar to wastewater. You should review your home’s plumbing system for slow-moving drains because this might mean there is a problem with sluggish water flow creating an environment for yeast growths.

 Fermentation Byproducts

The last type of organic substance that causes odors coming from tap water is fermentation byproducts, mainly consisting of decaying plants or vegetables within city sewer lines or underground pipes. This process occurs when plant materials come into contact with untreated wastewater particles and create hydrogen sulfide gas as a byproduct, which smells rotten eggs; much like what happens to eggs that are left out for a day or two. Besides detecting this stench coming from your tap, you can also see black sludge lining the walls of water supply pipes and accumulating at the bottom of wastewater drains.

tap water

Sometimes it is best to call in professionals when you cannot pinpoint the cause of your tap water’s odor. But for those who are able to fix these types of problems on their own, should consider having a plumber clear out sewer lines or contact local utility agencies about possible contamination of their water system.