Signs Your Drinking Water Is Contaminated

Signs Your Drinking Water Is Contaminated

Our drinking water can become contaminated with pathogens in several ways, including waste seeping into groundwater, failing infrastructure, or chemical runoff from crops. Unfortunately, unsafe water flowing into our homes is becoming more and more common.

Polluted water can cause gastrointestinal issues and other health problems, but luckily, there are numerous ways to filter tainted water. Boiling, filtration systems, and water tests can help stave off water-induced illnesses. Check out these signs your drinking water is contaminated, and learn how to prevent your family from getting sick.


Cloudiness in water can be a warning sign that something is up with your tap water. Sometimes, however, cloudy water is harmless; during cold weather, your pipes will trap more air bubbles, making the water appear cloudy. If this is the case, it should dissipate within a minute.

Cloudy water that doesn’t disperse or has an odor indicates the presence of chemicals or pathogens. Boil or treat it as your local health department advises.

Grimy Hands

Do your hands feel slimy or gritty after you wash them? This type of residue is another warning sign of polluted water. A slick or slimy feeling could mean that your water is harder than usual.

Hard water doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful; it could simply be a sign that your water softener is failing. Until you test the water for containments, avoid drinking or washing with it unless you’ve boiled it.

But if you feel grit or dirt on your skin, that could suggest a break in your water supply, meaning that pollutants and illness-causing pathogens are mixing with your treated water.

Weird Color

Never drink water that appears brown or orange—this is an indication that there is an excessive amount of iron and magnesium in your water due to rusty pipes or even excavations near your water supply.

Chemical Smell

Trace amounts of chlorine and sulfur are in all our drinking water; treatment plants add small amounts of chlorine, and sulfur occurs naturally in the ground. But you can detect excessive amounts of either by the unusual odors when you run a faucet.

Smelling bleach or rotten eggs coming from your sink or tub signifies water contamination. Likewise, a urine smell signals that the water has a high amount of ammonia, and a metallic taste is a sign that harmful chemicals are present.

There are ways to reduce levels of ammonia and other chemicals in your water quickly. As long as you know the signs your drinking water is contaminated, you can protect yourself and your family!

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