7 Signs Your Tap Water Might Be Contaminated

While the United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world, there are many conditions that can cause differences in smell, taste, or look strange. At Benchmark Environmental Engineering in San Jose, California, we regularly inspect and test drinking water for home and business owners to determine if there are harmful levels of impurities.

To help you determine whether it’s time to schedule an inspection, we’ve put together 7 signs your tap water might be contaminated.

  1. Unusual taste. You notice a metallic, oily, or fishy taste.
  2. Chlorine smell. Chlorine is added in order to kill bacteria and harmful microorganisms. The amount of chlorine usually isn’t dangerous, but you may not like the taste.
  3. Sulfur smell. If you notice a rotten egg smell, it is likely sulfur, which is a naturally occurring mineral that is generally not harmful.
  4. A cloudy, foamy look. Many treatment systems do not filter out naturally occurring minerals that may give a cloudy appearance. If the clouds and foam do not go away over time, it could be caused by bacteria and should be tested.
  5. Low water pressure. This may be a sign that your pipes are clogged and corroded from sediment and scale buildup.
  6. Blackening, dirt, or sediments in the sink.
  7. Government advisories and boil warning. Local governments usually notify the public of known unsafe water issues.

Are Contaminants Cause For Concern?

A contaminant is defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act as any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance. Small amounts of some of these substances are usually not a cause for concern.

There are certain toxins, like lead, that are unsafe to consume at any level. These substances can lead to health issues, such as reproductive problems, neurological disorders, and gastrointestinal illness.

The EPA distinguishes four general categories of drinking water contaminants.

  • Physical Material – Sediment, Dirt, Etc.
  • Chemicals – Nitrogen, Chlorine, Pesticides, Lead & Arsenic
  • Microbes – Bacteria, Viruses, Protozoan & Parasites
  • Radioactive Substances – Cesium, Plutonium & Uranium

How Do These Substances Get Into My Water?

Water supplies can become contaminated at the source and from the distribution system after treatment. This pollution comes from many sources, including naturally occurring chemicals and minerals, local land use such as fertilizers and pesticides, manufacturing processes, and sewer overflows.

Private Wells Are Not Regulated

In addition to watching out for bad tastes, smells, and floaties in your glass, you should be aware that having an untested private well can put you at risk. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates public water systems, but private water wells are not regulated.

If you use a private well, then you will need to have your water routinely tested to ensure it is safe to drink.

Get Your Water Tested Today

If you’re worried about the drinking water quality in your home or business, call us at Benchmark Environmental Engineering in San Jose, California, today. Our environmental consultants can inspect and test your drinking water to determine if it is safe to drink and uncover issues or restore your peace of mind.

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