Why is the Water from My Faucet a Strange Color?

August 13, 2019

If the water from your faucets is coming out in funny colors, it can be an unsettling experience – especially if you’re getting ready to cook or use the bathtub or shower. There are a variety of reasons this could be happening, and not all issues require a professional plumbing service. Here is a summary of why your water may have turned an odd color.

Reddish Water from Rust and Minerals

Minerals can accumulate in the plumbing of older houses with pipes made from galvanized iron or steel. When the protective zinc layer on these pipes wears off over time, the underlying iron or steel becomes exposed to water and starts to rust.

When the residue from the rust dissolves in the water flowing through your pipes, your water turns a yellowish-red or brown color. This water can stain your clothes and furniture and will adversely affect the taste and color of food.

If your water is discolored by rust from galvanized pipes, the pipes will need to be replaced with newer pipes of a non-rusting metal.

Dirty Water from Faucet

Green Water from Algae Buildup

If you’re seeing green water coming out of your faucets, this is most likely due to a buildup of algae in your system. Algae are naturally-occurring microbes that can appear when a blockage in a filter or other part of the system builds up over time. An experienced plumber can diagnose where the blockage is coming from and clear your system of algae.

Green Water from Copper Pipes

Copper pipes tend to leave a greenish coloration in water over time as the wear. You will notice stains on your sinks and tub as copper evaporates into the water and a residue is left behind.

This should be addressed immediately as copper is potentially harmful to humans in large quantities and can lead to diseases and kidney or liver damage if ingested over time. If you’re seeing stains and greenish water from your copper pipes, they will need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Yellow Water from a Water Distribution Center

If you’re seeing yellow water out of your sinks or bathtub, it could be a problem at your city’s water distribution center. It could be that your city is performing repairs on a local water main or a nearby fire hydrant is in use or has malfunctioned.

It may also be that your local water distribution center is conducting its annual flushing program, in which they increase the water pressure to clear the water lines of loose rust and fragments that routinely get stuck in the lines. When this happens, the water will absorb the rust and turn yellow. You will know that this is the case when only your cold water is affected.

If the problem persists, contact your local water distribution center or check their website to see if they have announced anything that might clue you in to the issue.

Black, Blue, Pink or Purple Water from Mildew, Tank Leaks or Potassium Permanganate

Other colors you may be seeing in your water are black, blue, pink purple. Black water from your faucet is a sign of mildew growth. Blue water likely means the blue disinfectant from your toilet tank is leaking into your regular water supply.

Pink water is likely from potassium permanganate, a chemical used to oxidize iron and manganese. If too much is used your water will turn pink, and if far too much is used it will turn purple. As long as it is still pink it is not a danger to your health.

Polluted Water

It’s possible the water in your city’s system has become polluted. This sometimes occurs after natural disasters, illegal dumping or a malfunction in the city’s filtration system.  If your water smells funny like chemicals, human waste or other foul smells, you need to have the problem looked at immediately.

The first call should be to your city water department to inquire what the possible contaminants could be. Then ask neighbors if they have experienced the same issues.  If your neighborhood is experiencing an area-wide problem, the city will need to come out an address the issue.

Dirty Water

If your water system has been worked on recently, sediments and dirt may have intruded into your water lines if measures weren’t taken to prevent the problem. This problem often occurs in recently renovated houses or apartments.

If you’re seeing dirt in the water from your taps, you’ll need to get the issue resolved immediately. Contact your landlord or the construction company that did the renovation to correct the problem.

Discolored water can be a hazard to your health. If you’re not able to determine the cause of your water problems, you may need to contact a plumber, or your municipal water supplier to determine the cause. Do not drink, or bathe in water that appears contaminated. If any of the issues described in this article are plaguing your water system and you are in of repair service or a consultation, call Reddi for assistance in the Wichita area at 316-847-4277 or lean more about our Wichita plumbing services.

Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.