Why is My Water Turning Strange Colors?

Turning on the tap just to have brown, red, or green can be quite unsettling, particularly if you want to shower, bath or cook. A variety of factors can cause your tap water to be discolored, and not all of them will need service. Some of them might, in which case you need to call your Toronto plumbers. Here are some of the reasons why your water may be discolored:

My Tap Water is Red

Most often, mineral accumulations in older homes cause red water discoloration, particularly if you have steel or galvanized iron pipes. Over time, the protective zinc layer on the pipes will wear off, and when the underlying steel or iron is exposed to water, it starts to rust. The rust residue will dissolve into your potable water, turning it a brown or yellowish-red color, which could affect the color and taste of your food and it can stain your furniture and clothes. The only solution to rust in your water is to have your old pipes replaced with new pipes in a non-rusting material.

My Tap Water is Green

Green tap water occurs for two reasons:

  1. Copper pipes

When copper pipes wear with time, it will leave stains on your tub and sinks and it will evaporate into the water, leaving behind a residue. Large quantities of copper ingested over time pose potential harm to human health, including damage to the liver and kidneys.

  1. Algae buildup

Most often, green tap water in modern plumbing systems is caused by an algae buildup. When a blockage occurs anywhere in the system – most often in a filter – naturally-occurring microbes grow, causing your water to turn green. It is important to call an experienced plumber near you to locate the blockage and clear the system of algae.

My Tap Water is Yellow

When your tap water is yellow, there may be a problem with the city’s distribution center. Most often, yellow tap water occurs when the city is performing maintenance or repairs, or when a hydrant nearby has malfunctioned or is in use.

Once a year, most municipalities increase the water pressure temporarily to flush out fragments of debris and rust. If there’s rust in the pipes, it will be absorbed into the water, turning it yellow. This usually affects the cold water.

My Tap Water is Purple, Pink, Blue or Black

  • Black tap water usually signals mildew growth.
  • Bluewater might indicate that your toilet disinfectant is leaking into your potable water supply.
  • Pink water is usually caused by an excess of potassium permanganate (used to oxidize manganese and iron), and if far too much is used, it will turn your water purple.

After illegal dumping, natural disasters, or malfunctioning filtration systems, your city’s water distribution system may become polluted.  Call for help immediately if your water smells like:

  • chemicals
  • human waste
  • fish

or any other foul odors.

Your city’s water department should be the first place you call.

If they worked on the system recently, it is possible that dirt and sediments have made their way into your water lines. Dirt in taps should be dealt with immediately.

Written by Tanya Klien

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