We all have the expectation that when we turn on the faucet, the water that flows out will be clean and clear. So it may come as a shock when the water is anything but that, and instead is brown. You may wonder what is causing your water to turn brown, how can it be fixed, and is it safe.

Your tap water is brown because of one of a couple different factors. One of those reasons could be the change in pressure in your city’s water lines. Water main breaks, or even routine maintenance in the city’s water lines, causes the pressure to change, which causes dirt, rust particles and sediment to get stirred up in those lines. When the water changes color from all of your faucets, it is likely because of that change in pressure, and should return to normal in a few hours. 

Heavy storms or a period of high rain might even cause a change in the water table. Homes that get their water from a private well can have this problem when extreme weather rolls through. The change in water color means a change in iron levels, which means you may need a powerful iron removal solution.

One of the more rare reasons for brown water is when filtration equipment is not working properly. Smaller towns could experience this because their equipment wasn’t designed to handle the volume, or that equipment needs repairs. To find out if this is the cause, you can give your city a call for more information.

In any of these situations, is brown tap water safe to drink? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Water that has higher levels of iron and magnesium will be smelly and unpleasant to drink, but it won’t be harmful. Other circumstances that lead to brown tap water can cause major health concerns. If you do not know the exact cause, err on the side of caution and not drink brown tap water.

When you first discover that your tap water has turned brown, try to find the exact cause so it can be addressed more quickly. For more information on keeping your home’s tap water safe to drink, call Kellermeier Plumbing at 616-866-5134. At Kellermeier Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being honest and upfront with our customers and strive to provide our clients with the highest level of service.