Have you ever turned the faucet in your bathroom on or the tap on your sink and found brown water? If you haven’t, it is only a matter of time. Every homeowner has the day when one has to wonder, why is my water brown?
Why is My Water Brown?
Let us begin with a caveat. Your water may be brown because of some fault in your home, some fault in the supply lines, some fault in the treatment facility that supplies water to your home, or it could be just a freak standalone instance which will not persist. Not all brown water is bad, but it is a cause for concern. At the same time, water turning brown can be life-threatening. The reality is that you shouldn’t second-guess yourself when you see brown water. You must take immediate action unless you allow the water to flow for a while and you see the water turning clean, or colorless.
Dirt and Grime
Pipes can be dirty. The faucets or taps may be dirty. The supply lines may have grime. There could be someplace where dirt has gotten mixed with the water being fed into your home. Whatever is the source of dirt, and wherever it may be, you will have brown water. Dirt or grime is not the most concerning cause of water turning brown, but it shouldn’t be taken casually either. You should clean the faucets, pipes and any part of the supply lines or plumbing that is dirty. If they cannot be cleaned impeccably, you should consider replacing that part of the plumbing infrastructure or supply lines. You may even have to upgrade your plumbing if it is too old.
It is obvious why dirt and grime will turn your water brown. The dirt, dust or grime itself is brown. Even soiled water will be brown. Other than these obvious causes, water turns brown because of too much iron. Water has numerous minerals, and too much of any will give it a hue. There is a reason why you get to see blue water, green water, reddish water and black water. While water is colorless, impure water or water having more of one, and at times several, components will always have a color. Along with iron or without it, manganese too can turn the water brown. While it is common knowledge that iron turns water red, it doesn’t really turn the red we are familiar with. Reddish tinges and brownish tinges often look similar.
If your faucets, pipes and supply lines are clean and there is no dust, dirt and grime, then you have more iron or/and manganese in your water. You need to have your supply line checked. If you are using a well or some ground water source, then you must have it checked. If you are connected to the civic supply lines, then you should contact the authorities. Usually, a problem at the end of the civic supply lines will cause the same problem for your neighbors as well, so you won’t be alone. That is not necessarily a good thing since all of you in the area will run out of usable water.
Iron can seep into water from the soil. It can also seep into water from rust. If your pipes are rusted or the lines have rust, if there are corroded pipes or any kind of breakage anywhere allowing rusting, then your water will turn brown.
Health Concerns of Brown Water
Slightly brown water due to some iron mixing with the source or supply line is not a serious health risk. High iron content in water can make it taste different, and it may lead to hair loss in some people; it can cause rusting in appliances and may not be ideal for cleaning, washing or bathing, but it will not pose any serious health risk. You may have some harmless weird feeling in your stomach, if it is the first time you are consuming water with more iron. But that feeling will become unnoticeable in no time.
Most people don’t like water with high iron content because it makes cleaning difficult, appliances tend to develop strange stains over time, and the water is not always best for hands, as you keep cleaning your utensils and appliances. Brown water due to high iron content is also not good for long term digestive health. People who have consumed such water for a long time have had problems such as constipation and piles. The human body needs iron but in limited amounts, and it prefers to get its iron from foods and not too much in water.
Iron or manganese is one end of the spectrum, which is not very concerning. The problem lies with rust, dirt and grime that is not the usual dust or soil or any kind of chemical infestation. From oil spills to bacterial or fungal outbreaks, there can be any kind of contamination in the water. Brown is not always about iron and manganese. It is absolutely imperative that the water is tested and proven to be safe for consumption. Even physical contact and not necessarily drinking some brown water can have devastating effects, if the color is owing to some harmful chemical, microorganism or toxic substance.
Treating Brown Water
You should call us to get the brown water tested and get recommendations on the subsequent steps. You must have appropriate filters at home. You could use reverse osmosis filters or the ones that come with cathode filters. As long as you are using proven and effective filtration technology, you are safe. But some brown water may not be treated with standard filters at homes. The plumbing and rusting issues will obviously be beyond the filters. Microbial and chemical infestations in water will also be untreatable. You must opt for specific solutions for the given problems.
Get the water tested and seek technical expertise to remedy the problem. Brown water is not incurable. You must know why the water has turned brown and then undo the root cause.