A cold, tall glass of water is considered to be one of the most natural forms of refreshment. Unfortunately, not all drinking water tastes great, and if your drinking water is distasteful, it will fail to have that refreshing quality. Whether your water has a bad smell or taste or it simply is “off,” there could be a number of reasons that are the underlying cause. So, here we will explore some of the most common water quality issues that could be preventing you from enjoying your drinking water.  

Metallic Taste 

There are a number of minerals that may be present in your drinking water that can cause a metallic taste. Some of the most common are copper, zinc, manganese, iron and even lead. These metals can leach into your water from your pipes, affecting the taste and quality of your drinking water. 

Chlorine or Chemical Tastes 

Most municipal water plants use chlorine at different concentrations and amounts to treat water supplies. Chlorine is an effective disinfectant, but the distinct odor can linger in the water creating a swimming pool-like taste or smell that makes it unpalatable. Chlorine concentrations can vary, so it may be more apparent at some times and unnoticeable at others. Chlorine can also interact with organic matter present in the water line or your plumbing system to create a chemical taste.  

Rotten Egg Smell 

The odor of rotten eggs or sulfur is very distinct and unpleasant, particularly when it is in your cool glass of water. This occurs when your water supply contains hydrogen sulfide. This can be a water contaminant, or it could be present in your water heater. Most water heaters use an element to protect against corrosion, but when this element begins to deteriorate, it can create a sulfur like odor.  

Earthy or Moldy Smells 

This is often caused by bacteria in the drains rather than the water itself, but bacteria and organic matter can also be found in water sources. During certain times of the year, reservoirs, lakes and other surface water sources may be particularly prone to increased levels of algae and other organic matter.

Salty Tastes 

If you have a water softener, your water may occasionally develop a salty taste. While a faint underlying taste is normal, it should never taste distinctly salty, as it could indicate a problem with your water softener or conditioner. Your water supply may also be affected by levels of potassium or sodium, particularly if you live near a salt water lake that may cause salt water to leach into a fresh water supply.  

Solvent Smells 

If you live near an area of industrial activity, your water supply may be compromised by fuel, petroleum, turpentine or other chemicals leaching into the groundwater. This is a serious issue, and if your water supply does develop a solvent or gasoline smell, you should stop drinking it immediately and ensure that you contact your water utility company.  

If you have concerns about unpleasant tastes or smells in your water supply, you should speak to a water treatment expert. A fully WQA certified specialist can assess your water quality and guide you through the treatment options that are most appropriate to your specific requirements.  

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.