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Nov 09, 2015
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Decoding What Discolored Water Coming From Your Faucet Means

Next year, marks the 45th anniversary of the release of the movie, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.  One of the most fascinating behind the scenes facts is that the chocolate river actually was made from a combination of chocolate, water and cream.  This was done in order for it to look as realistic as possible on the big screen.  If you’re a chocolate fanatic, this is a dream come true.  However, it’s a well-documented fact that over the duration of filming, the milk in the river soured and the soundstage grew quite pungent.  Likewise, if you’ve got what looks like a chocolate fountain coming out of your pipes, it is well worth investigating what the culprit is so that you can attack it properly.  Oftentimes the color determines the treatment.  The list below gives you a launching point for addressing funky colored water in your home.

Greenish Blue: This hue is often the result of a home’s copper pipes oxidizing. This phenomenon often happens in tandem with water taking on a metallic taste.  While copper in small amounts is not a health hazard, too much in your home’s water can make it unsafe to use it in cooking or drinking.  If you’re noticing this issue, confer with a reputable plumber to discuss whether replacing your home’s pipes is a necessity.     

Yellow: This can signal that your water provider is in the process of performing maintenance to the major components of their system.   A fire hydrant within close proximity to your home could also be in use or have recently ceased to work.  If your home has galvanized pipes, the yellow tinge could be alerting you that a specific pipe is rusting internally. You’ll know this is the case of the issue is localized to a specific plumbing fixture and the problem corrects itself after the water runs for several minutes.

White: If your water has taken on a milky appearance, it’s often the result of copious amounts of air in your home’s water lines.  If you notice the water clears up after being poured into a transparent glass, there is no need for alarm, as the water is safe to drink.  If the water does not clear up, contact a licensed plumbing professional.

Brown:  An overabundance of iron and manganese in your water can result in it turning brown.  This issue is more common in homes that receive their water supply from a well.  Rusty pipes can also cause your home’s water to come out of the tap brown.  This issue should be addressed as quickly as possible because rusty water can be an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply in.

Pink: Your water company uses various additives to keep your drinking water pure.  One of these additives is called potassium permanganate.  It is designed to expel impurities such as iron & manganese from the water supply.   If this additive is introduced into the drinking water at too high of a concentration, the water can take on a pinkish tint.  While this chemical is safe for human consumption, it can turn laundry and foods cooked in it pink.

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Roberts, WI
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Bloomington, MN
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Shorewood, MN
March 12, 2021

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