How To Tell If Your Water Is Contaminated

water flows from tap to sink


There are several ways to tell if there’s a problem with your household water.

Strange Taste

When your water is contaminated it won’t taste right. If you notice an odd new flavour it probably means it’s contaminated. This could include an oily, bitter, fishy or metallic taste. So if your drinking water tastes like sea bass, this isn’t good. The oil in the water can add a weird taste and this is a main contaminant in household water. 

Strange Smell

As well as tastes, look out for a strange smell. Typically these could be the smell of chlorine or sulfur because of the excess minerals in the water. It’s not normal for your water to smell like a swimming pool when it’s just come out of the faucet so consider this a sign of contamination. A build up of chlorine could cause the unpleasant smell. If you smell rotten eggs instead, this will be sulfur. 

Low pressure

If it’s taking a long time to fill up your bowl to wash the dishes this could be another tell-tale sign that your water is contaminated. This means that the water pressure is slow. This is especially a problem in the shower as you can easily imagine. Everyone needs a certain amount of water pressure in order to wash and clean properly. The reason the pressure is low is because of a build up of sediment or limescale, so the water doesn’t flow as easily. 

Cloudy water

If your water doesn’t flow clear that means it could be contaminated. If it’s still cloudy or foamy after running the faucet for a while this isn’t a good sign. This could be caused by too much bacteria in the water. Perhaps the answer is a commercial pressure washer rental

Unwanted dirt

If you see unusual residue in your water this could be a build up of dirt or sediment. This isn’t pleasant so it’s a clear sign that your water is contaminated. This goes the same for odd stains and spots you find when pouring the water. Depending on where you live your water could either be soft or hard. If the water is hard this means it has a higher concentration of certain minerals such as calcium and magnesium. This also makes it more difficult to make suds, or foam up many cleaning products such as soaps and shampoos. 

Sinking bread

If you’re a baker, you’ll know how important water is to the baking process. Whether you prefer to bake bread, pies or pastries the quality of your water supply can affect this. If you notice your baked goods keep sinking when they didn’t before this could mean your water is contaminated. This is because chlorine can break up the yeast needed for it to rise. You need clean water in order to bake successfully so keep this in mind.

If you’re concerned about your water being contaminated try writing to your local government. There are many companies such as which offer services to separate the water in your local community. 



  • heather

    This was super important to read thank you for sharing it. I am super paranoid about drinking water and I try to be extra careful. I did not know about the sinking bread tip that is a great tip.

  • Tamra Phelps

    I don’t think the water here is contaminated, but I don’t really like the taste of it, so I buy bottled water to drink and I buy gallons of water to make tea because I don’t like the weird prism stuff that you see on top of tea when you have to use hard water. Every place I’ve ever lived had hard water… yeah, I know it’s harmless but I don’t like that ‘skim’ on top of tea. I swear it gives tea a bitter taste, too.

  • Tamra Phelps

    I just saw yesterday that my hometown, a few hours South of where I live now, but where most of my family lives, is under a boil water advisory. It’s scary how often those pop up this days.

  • Rosie

    That is good information. Whether you have well water or city water, not a bad idea to have it tested every five years or so, and definitely if you see any of these signs. We shouldn’t assume it is pure enough, after Flint!

  • Tamra Phelps

    One of the things I hate about this place I’m staying is the water. It tastes weird to me. Several times a year, the city will have a boil water alert, too. I try to avoid drinking the water here. Oh, I had no idea about the sinking bread thing! That’s interesting.

  • Diane K. Brimmer

    Several years back when we had our Honey business, we had to have the water tested in the honey house by government regulations. It came back with 3 times over the limit for Nitrates. We had to put in a Reverse Osmosis to be able to drink our water. It honestly tasted better before we did anything. But the Nitrates can cause Cancer, Miscarriages, and a number of other things. So it is extremely important to get your water checked.

  • Michele Soyer

    Water testing is something people should do no matter what type of water your home system has.. making people aware is so very important.. Once again thank you Connie! We here have pipe born water but also collect rain water…believe it or not our collected water has a better taste and always tests better….

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