Contaminated tap water can have a wide variety of causes. From deposits in the water pipes to substances and bacteria that get into the water, the possible types of contamination of drinking water are multi-faceted. But there is one thing that bacteria and particles of toxic heavy metals have in common: they cannot usually be seen, smelled or tasted. In some cases, however, contaminated tap water can be recognised by its colour, smell or taste. For example, if the water has a foul taste or smell. In this case, however, different causes come into question, such as the intrusion of foreign water within one’s own or the public tap water network. From time to time, drinking water users also notice that their tap water, which they obtain from the waterworks, tastes or smells of chlorine. This is usually due to the water suppliers’ treatment processes and rarely lasts for more than a few days.
Contaminated tap water? Cloudy water from the tap
Cloudy water can have different causes. Contaminated tap water caused by hazardous substances does not always have to be the cause. Limescale deposits can also be responsible for cloudy water. However, limescale in water is not necessarily harmful to health. However, in the long run it damages coffee machines, washing machines and other appliances. The cause of the high limescale content should therefore be identified here.
Bacteria: Can tap water contaminated by pathogens be seen with the naked eye?
Contaminated tap water can cause a wide variety of diseases. If bacteria and pathogens are found in the water, however, they are not visible to the naked eye. If the water is cloudy or smells strange, it cannot automatically be assumed that it is contaminated with bacteria. If symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting occur, this can certainly indicate intestinal pathogens in the tap water. To detect them, however, the water must be checked by a professional laboratory. The human eye alone cannot detect this contamination.
Heavy metals in water: only the laboratory can detect contaminated water
Contaminated water is not infrequently responsible for various types of illnesses that often go unnoticed for a long time. Lead, copper or other heavy metals get into the water almost exclusively within the domestic drinking water installation and thus enter the organism continuously over a long period of time. This continuous exposure can lead to considerable health problems even with minimal concentrations of heavy metals. Babies and small children are particularly at risk. The contamination of tap water by heavy metals can only be detected by laboratory analysis.
Does your water taste bitter, musty or sweet? Then you should first contact the responsible water supplier to rule out possible problems in the drinking water distribution. Although the drinking water is distributed to households under strict control, damage to the public water pipes, for example due to wear and tear, cannot be ruled out.
If the water is cloudy or milky, for example, various treatment processes used by the waterworks may also be responsible. However, a strange smell or taste of the water can also be caused by problems in your own drinking water installation in the house. Damage to pipes can lead to various types of contamination.
If the pipes or fittings are of inferior quality, the water may also have a copper or plastic taste. In the first instance, therefore, if there are any abnormalities in the water, both your own house pipes should be checked and the local water supplier should be contacted in order to rule out any problems originating there. Ideally, a water analysis is also recommended, which checks the water flowing from the tap for hazardous substances in order to exclude health hazards.
Even if the water flows clearly from the pipes, this is no guarantee that it is not contaminated tap water. Bacteria or even toxic heavy metals can usually only be detected by a professional laboratory analysis of the water.
To protect your health: have your water tested
Water tests for private households are available quickly and easily in the IVARIO shop. These water analyses offer the possibility to rule out the option that contaminated tap water is flowing through the tap or to detect problems if necessary. Learn more about this in the IVARIO shop.
Water filters as a solution
If a water analysis has revealed contamination of your drinking water by heavy metals, pesticides or pharmaceuticals, or if the taste and smell of your drinking water has changed, the IVARIO water filter offers a quick remedy. The activated carbon water filter enables sustainable filtration of your drinking water directly at the tap, so that even heavy metal contamination emanating from the mixer tap can be reliably filtered.