There are changes to tap water that cannot be detected without laboratory testing. But, some strange colors, odors and tastes are very obvious and yellow tinted water certainly falls into that category. In many cases, yellow water doesn’t have a bad odor, but it’s natural to wonder if it’s safe to drink and use in the home. In this article, we will look at some common reasons why tap water turns yellow and what you can do about it.

What are the Health Risks?

Before we get started, it’s important to state that yellow tap water doesn’t represent a serious health risk. It’s a good idea to identify the cause and fix it, but if you’ve consumed yellow water, don’t panic. If you are concerned consult your Doctor, but it is highly unlikely that you will experience any ill effects.

What Causes Yellow Tap Water?

When a change in your water quality occurs, it’s always a good idea to carry out some water testing. Before we continue, there are two questions that need to be answered to narrow down the causes. They are:

  1. Does your water come from a private well or is it public water?
  2. Is your tap water always yellow or does the color disappear after a few minutes?

Keep your answers to these questions in mind and choose the applicable responses below:

1.   I Receive Public Water

The source is likely to be the municipal water supplier. They may be carrying out repairs if this is a recent phenomenon and the yellow color may be discharged rust particles.  The water lines may be flushed to clean out parts of the water delivery network and some loose debris enters the water supply. In most such cases, the water quality change is temporary and it will return to normal when the maintenance or repair work is completed.

2.   I Receive Private Well Water

The cause may be iron bacteria which can combine with manganese, oxygen, and iron to form a build up of yellow slime in the water. If there is decaying organic matter in the well, this may release tannins which are known to turn water yellow or brown. Testing private well water annually is a good idea because changes can occur regularly. Contacting a local water treatment specialist to clean the well with chlorination may be the best solution.

3.   My Tap Water is Always Yellow

If the tap water is yellow and it doesn’t clear up after a few minutes, the cause may be pipeline sediment or dissolved iron deposits in the water line. This occurs when dissolved iron is stirred up in the natural sediments that can be found in any water system. Switch to bottled water and contact the water authority to fix the problem for you. Consider adding a water filtration system to your home to improve your water quality.

4.   My Water Is Yellow for a Short Time

If the tap water is yellow and it returns to normal within a few minutes, the cause typically lies in the plumbing system. Aging pipes can corrode and this will release rust particles into the water. Get a local plumber to assess the condition of the plumbing system and consider a pipe upgrade.

If you want to improve the quality of your drinking water, contact a local water treatment specialist.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.