Taste & Odor Issues
Reddish Brown Color
Your water might be affected by iron, a commonly occurring constituent of drinking water which may also be leached from galvanized piping. Iron tends to add a rusty, reddish brown (or sometimes yellow) color to water, and leaves particles of the same color. If the color is more like black, it could be a combination of iron and manganese. Both of these metals can cause staining of plumbing fixtures or laundry, but they are not known to cause health problems.
The smell of rotten eggs or sewage in the water is likely caused by gases forming in the household drain. These gases are formed by bacteria which live on food, soap, hair and other organic matter in the drain. These gases are heavier than air and remain in the drain until the water is turned on.
As the water runs down the drain, the gases are expelled into the atmosphere around the sink. It is natural to associate these odors with the water because they are observed only when the water is turned on. In this case, the odor is not in the water, it is simply the water pushing the gas out of the drain.
This can be verified by taking a glass of water from the tap and walking away to another area to smell the glass of water. If it still smells, please contact our Water Quality Division at 305-295-2146. If the drain is found to be the source of odors, you can disinfect the drain with bleach.
Hot Water Supply
If the odor is detected only in your hot water supply, it might be an indication that there is an issue with your hot water heater. A sulfurous or rotten egg-like odor in the hot water is caused by bacteria growing in the water heater. This usually happens when the water heater is turned off while on vacation, when the hot water has not been used for a long time or when the temperature setting on the heater is set too low.
The bacteria in the water heater are not a health threat; however, they must be eliminated to stop the odor problem. You should consult your owner’s manual or contact a licensed plumber.