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Thread: Water supply is dirty and bitter

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member rockycmt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    New York

    Default Water supply is dirty and bitter

    I have town water supply. Home was built in '52. I noticed something a few weeks ago where my water started to taste funny. Bitter and cottonmouth. I have noticed some browning every so often when I do something to the line. I once cut the pressure at the main to fit a sink. Let the house supply drain and when I filled it back up the water has some brown spots. (Continues do flush). I then just replaced my 3/4 in original copper in the basement with new 3/4 in to route around the perimeter of my unfinished basement. This was done for cosmetic reasons. When I cut the old pipe I ran my finger in it and it was like a brown slur.

    Not sure if all the original pipes have this. Is this normal for pipes of this many years? I plan to have my water tested anyway. Just interested in hearing some experiences.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Land of Cheese


    I would guess that there is iron in your water. It could be coming from the city water supply or there are iron pipes in the system. It would be considered quite normal to get some discoloration and sediment from the taps anytime the system is depressurized for a repair.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    There's almost always some stuff in the water, most systems use chlorine or similar disinfectant, and it kills things...after years of sitting in the pipe, they can deposit themselves. While unappealing, it's not uncommon to have some accumulated crud on the insides of the pipes. This is one reason why the city (usually) annually, flush them on their end by opening up fire hydrants to maximize flow. This can cause your water to be discolored for a day or so. Most people don't do that in their own home, and it's not required, but there may be an accumulation of crud there over time. As noted, any time you turn the water off, then refill the system, that inrush of max flow of water will scour some of the accumulated crud off, giving you discolored water. An annoyance, but not a health hazard.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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