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Water Taste, Odour & Appearance

The taste, odour and appearance of your drinking water may vary at different times of the year due to events such as spring runoff, and when temperatures in the distribution system increase from the hot dry summer months. A change in the appearance of your drinking water does not mean it is unsafe to drink.

Common questions regarding the taste and odour of your water include:

Why does my water smell musty or have an unusual odour?

If the musty odours occurs only at one faucet, the odour is related to something at or near the faucet. Try cleaning the drain, this often removes the odours. If the odour is at all faucets than the issue could be from the temperature of the water supply, decomposing organic material in the water and also pipe lining materials.  Please note unusual tastes or odours are aesthetic in nature and do not pose a health risk.  Cranbrook Public Works Utilities Crews ensure there is enough disinfection residual at all ends of the system regularly.

What should I do if my water tastes stale?

Drinking water may taste stale if faucets have not been used in recently. Running the cold water tap briefly will allow fresh water from the water main to your tap.

My water has a milky or cloudy appearance. Should I be concerned?

Air bubbles in water may cause a milky or cloudy appearance, especially in cold water. These bubbles pose no health risk. Cloudiness appears more often in the winter, when the water is cold. Allowing water to sit will let the air dissipate and the water will clear.

Why does my water have a yellow or rusty colour?

Watermain repairs, construction and other work in your area can cause some rust and sediment, which normally stick to the inside of the water main, to break away. Fire hydrant flushing can also cause this inconvenience.

The discoloured water is safe to drink, but may cause water to appear dirty. If this happens, run a cold water tap to run for ten to twenty minutes to flush your pipes, and do not use your laundry machines until the water clears up. If water will not clear up after flushing for 20 minutes please call 311.

Why does my toilet have a pink ring around where the water is?

Each year, a few customers call to ask us about pink stains or residues that occasionally develop in moist areas in their homes. They generally observe this in toilet bowls, around sink and tub drains, on shower curtains or other shower surfaces, and even in pet water dishes.  The customer naturally wants to know if there is something wrong with his/her water.

No, a pink residue is not a problem with your water quality, and is not harmful in this situation.  It is evidence of bacteria that are common inhabitants of our environment.  The most typical of these bacteria is one known as Serratia marcescens.

These bacteria come from any of a number of naturally-occurring sources, such as soil, mulch, dust, and surface waters, and they thrive in an environment that is moist and high in phosphates.  More people indicate the problem occurs in the summer months when temperatures and humidity are higher, and especially if windows are kept open for any length of time.

Serratia will not survive in chlorinated drinking water.  However, where water stands long enough for the residual chlorine disinfectant to dissipate, such as a toilet in a guest bathroom, or on a shower curtain, the pink color may develop.  Customers who remove the chlorine from their water by use of an activated carbon filter may also be more likely to experience the problem.

Should I be concerned if my water has a chlorine taste or smell?

We add chlorine to disinfect your water and keep it free from harmful microorganisms. Some conditions, such as spring runoff, affect the quality of the water supply entering Cranbrook.

During these times, we adjust water treatment, which may include increasing the level of disinfectant, to ensure that your drinking water remains safe. Therefore, you may occasionally notice an increase in the taste and smell of chlorine in your drinking water. If you would like to remove the taste and smell of chlorine, fill a container of water and keep it in the fridge for drinking. Much of the chlorine will dissipate from the water overnight.

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