We all want to care for ourselves and our families with fresh, pure water. But contrary to what you may have assumed, the water in our homes is host to a wide range of chemicals, minerals, and other common contaminants. Most of these are benign (or even healthy), but when higher concentrations of potentially harmful contaminate get mixed in, we have to be wary of dirty tap water. Thankfully, with the right awareness and preparation, you can avoid the most common water contaminants. 

What Are Common Signs of Contaminated Water?

There are many signs that contaminants may be present in your water, depending on the type of contamination. Common indicators include a distinct, often unpleasant odor or taste to the water in your home. This can come from both organic and inorganic elements, resulting in anything from faint, sulfurous smells to chalky or metallic flavors. 

Another common indication that your tap water may be contaminated is its look. Some signs are obvious, like sediment or grit floating in the water or settling to the bottom of bathtubs and drinking glasses. Others, like a subtle coloration, can be harder to notice. When holding a clear glass of water up to the light, no color should be discernable. A slight yellow, brown, green, or grey tint to the water is usually a clue that foreign elements are present in your water. 

However, not all contamination is obvious. Some contaminants are so small that they’re only visible under a microscope. Likewise, not all harmful chemicals have a strong smell that can be detected by casual sniffing. 

How Can Tap Water Get Contaminated?

There are many possible causes behind tap water contamination. Whether you get your water from a municipal supply or a private well, much of the tap water in the United States comes from groundwater sources that are vulnerable to common contaminates. For instance, improper disposal of waste is a regularly occurring problem. Septic tanks, landfills, and chemical dumps are all major sources of pollutants that can soak into the environment, seep into groundwater, and make their way into your home’s tap water. Agricultural chemicals are another significant source of chemical contamination, with fertilizers and insecticides from farmland making their way into surface and groundwater systems. 

But not all contamination comes from waste disposal. Other factors, like storms, can introduce all sorts of outside elements and particles into water sources. If you’re on a municipal water system, some of these contaminants may be filtered out, but that doesn’t mean your tap water is immune to contamination. Dirty tap water can happen because of sources further down the line, such as corroding or breached pipes in local water lines. Old or poorly maintained pipes in your own home can also deposit rust or leach other chemicals into your water.

Is Dirty Tap Water Safe to Use?

While not all of the contaminants that make their way into our water are hurtful, using dirty tap water is usually not a good idea. Drinking unclean water can have both short- and long-term negative effects. Short-term effects can include relatively benign problems, like stomach cramps, or extremely serious issues from poisons in the water. In the long-term, some elements that can find their way into tap water are known carcinogens, meaning that prolonged exposure to them can lead to the development of cancer. 

Using dirty tap water for other purposes is not as immediately dangerous as consuming it, but the presence of common contaminants in your home water supply can dry out your skin and hair or even stain clothing that’s washed with the contaminated water. 

Avoiding Contaminated Water

Dirty tap water can create a lot of problems, but there are ways of making sure that you and your family are safe from water contamination. As we mentioned before, many types of contamination in your water leave telltale signs. Following your common sense and avoiding any water that looks, smells, or tastes wrong is always a good idea. Likewise, having your tap water tested by experts can ensure that your water is free of all contaminants, even those you can’t see. 

Keeping your home plumbing well-maintained and up-to-date is another important part of avoiding contamination in your water. Even the cleanest municipal water can be unsafe to use and drink if the pipes delivering the water in your home aren’t up to standard. Especially in older homes, the mix of plastic, cast iron, and copper piping can be a source of trouble. Where possible, implementing modern PVC pipes can help, as they last longer and are more resistant than metal pipes.

Home Water Filtration

While all municipal water in the United States is treated to remove many common contaminants, dangerous incidents can still occur. Having a high-quality private water filtration system fitted in your home can guarantee that you never have to worry about dirty tap water. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of home water treatment systems available, from relatively basic charcoal filtration to sophisticated, multi-stage reverse-osmosis systems that remove virtually all potentially harmful pollutants from the tap water in your home or office. 

Explore Your Filtration Options with The Science of Water

At The Science of Water, we assess and install water filtration systems to meet your unique needs. Using filtration technology backed by NASA and the EPA, our advanced water systems purify your water supply to the highest standard. Whatever you’re looking for in a water filtration system, we can help you enjoy tap water in your home that’s clear of contaminants and safe to drink.

We even offer free water quality testing and consultations. When you need answers about the safety of your local water supply, our technicians can assess your situation for waterborne threats and recommend the perfect filtration system to suit your needs and budget.

Don’t settle for dirty tap water that tastes terrible and puts your health at risk. Get your water tested today to protect your household with pure, clean water that can be relied on. For more information about The Science of Water or to book your free water test, just get in touch with our team today!