Taste and odour
The taste and odour of water can vary from tap to tap and can be impacted by naturally occurring minerals, treatment processes and internal plumbing. Customer’s personal likes and dislikes can also influence a perception of taste and odour. Some common taste and odour complaints about water quality are:
Council adds chlorine to the water supply at our water treatment plants and satellite chlorinators positioned throughout the water supply system to remove harmful bacteria and protect water quality.
Some small residual of chlorine can generally be present in your drinking water once it reaches your tap and from time to time you may notice a slight chlorine taste or smell.
Council carefully controls and monitors this process to ensure the residual poses no risk to health. Often seasonal changes in demand, a property distance from the water filtration plant and unavoidable changes to system operation can impact the amount of chlorine in the water.
Musty, mouldy or earthy
Musty tastes and odours in the drinking water can be caused by organic growth within water pipes. Mould and bacteria may breed in internal plumbing when certain jointing compounds are used for domestic fittings or appliances, or when cold water pipes pass closely to hot water pipes that are not insulated.
Rust or metal
Drinking water with a rusty or metallic taste generally contains excessive iron, manganese and other metals. When these materials are present in high levels, customers can also notice a change in the colour of the water, this is known as discoloured or dirty water.
The discoloured water may vary from the extreme (mud colour) to an almost unnoticeable (very light tea colour). Council will flush or scour lines to remove the problem when this occurs.
Customers may also notice a rusty or metallic taste if the internal pipes are corroded. When the house plumbing is corroded, water may appear clear at first, but then turn rusty or black in a few minutes.
The taste and smell of drinking water does not change as a result of water fluoridation because the type of fluoride used to fluoridate the water supply has no taste or smell. For more information on fluoride visit the NSW Health website.
Discoloured 'dirty' water is a change in the appearance or the colour of your water - usually to a brown or yellow. This is usually caused by trace minerals within the water, such as iron or manganese. They are in extremely low levels, but when travelling through the system they can accumulate and become visible, discolouring the water.
If you notice water discolouration in your home, we suggest you wait an hour or two then check that the water from your front tap (nearest to the water meter) is clear. If it is clear, go to the tap at the furthest point from your water meter (usually the garden tap in the backyard) and run the water for a few minutes until it also runs clear.
If the water coming into your front tap is not clear contact Council on T 02 6578 7290 and we can arrange flushing of the water mains in the local area. While flushing is being undertaken, customers can experience very dirty water, however this will clear shortly afterwards.
Council has approximately 300 kilometres of water mains, 9 water pump stations and 12 water reservoirs, so we are unable to monitor them all at the same time, so we do rely on residents to advise us of any severe or ongoing discolouration to the water supply.
If you are experiencing dirty water do not do any laundry or wash any clothing; discoloured water will stain whites. Should damage occur as a consequence of a water dirty water event, compensation for damaged items would be considered on application.