Why Some Tap Water Tastes Like Dirt

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The water coming from your faucet shouldn’t have any weird odors, and you definitely don’t want it to have a funky taste. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Even water that’s deemed safe by the treatment plant can still have some undesirable characteristics. Issues regarding water color, odor, and taste can sometimes slip through because they fall into the secondary standards category for drinking water regulations. The EPA doesn’t actually enforce contaminant limits for “aesthetic effects” in drinking water. They’ve got a few guidelines in place, but it’s mostly left to states and local systems to keep this side of water quality in check. And at times, that can be pretty difficult to do.

Why Water Can Taste Dirty

Some water sources (well water, especially) might have an odd taste year-round. Others tend to change with the seasons. If you’re using city tap water, the reason for dirty-tasting water is typically caused by cyanobacteria, or algae blooms.

As our water supplies get plagued by over-active algae growth, a couple compounds often get created. The compounds are geosmin and 2-methyl isoborneol (MIB), and they each come with their own special earthy, dirty taste. Since they’re technically taste-and-odor compounds, they aren’t known to be toxic.

Still, they’re a real pain because even a teeny-tiny amount can be detected by the human palette—which ends up making our tap water taste like dirt.

Although the city’s chlorination treatments don’t remove the MIB and geosmin compounds, there is good news! Some other filtration methods are super-effective against the weird water tastes. So, if you know where to go, it’s pretty easy to find a solution.

The Cost of Poor Water Quality

Water quality affects a lot more than some of us realize. But when the bad tastes start showing up, it’s easy to notice the impacts. Even though some taste issues are considered “harmless,” our water’s aesthetic qualities are still hugely important.

For starters, take your morning cup of coffee. Bad water quality will ruin even the most fancy-roasted coffee beans every time.

At restaurants, water quality can also ruin the flavor of soft drinks, lemonade, tea, ice cubes, you name it! (We’ve all been to a place where the water just tasted “off,” right?) If customers can’t stand the taste of your drinks, even good food may not be able to entice them to visit again. How our drinking water tastes, and even smells, is certainly something that can impact the bottom line of a business.

To make matters worse, odors and tastes might also be the result of a bigger issue—not just the summer’s algae blooms. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to call up the experts. Getting a water quality assessment is a great way to make sure you’re in the clear.

Finding Your Best Water Filter

Keeping your family (or your employees and customers) hydrated and healthy often comes down to an efficient water filtration system. Depending on your usage and needs, you’re going to have different options.

Units that have multiple stages of filtration are great. They can typically customize the filters you need based on certain requirements (like if you want to make sure you’re filtering out any lead, or other heavy metal contaminants).

The latest commercial units are great because you can filter right at the water line for water fountains and more. That way, the water at your office building, gym, or daycare center will be perfectly polished.

Dirty tasting water doesn’t need to be a seasonal thing. When you get the right filter installed, all of your water will be clean! If you have any other questions about the water quality issues in your area, be sure to drop us a note. We’d love to hear from you!

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