Imagine turning on your tap, eagerly anticipating a clear glass of refreshing tap water, only to be greeted by murky, brown water that is anything but appetising. This alarming experience has become a reality for many households across the globe, as issues with ageing infrastructure, contamination, and poor water management plague our water systems.

In this blog post, we will delve into the causes of brown tap water and explore if there are any risks associated with it. We will also discuss how we at Canberra Plumbing & Drains can provide you with possible solutions to ensure access to clean, safe drinking water for everyone.

Causes of Brown Tap Water

Brown tap water flows into our homes and leaves us questioning its safety, but what exactly causes this unsettling phenomenon? Various factors contribute to this discoloured water, including corroded pipes, sediment buildup, and nearby construction work. 

So, let’s help you understand the issue of brown tap water in your own home:

Discoloured water due to sediments

One of the leading causes of brown water in Australia is the presence of sediments in the water supply. Heavy rainfall, flooding, or construction activities can disturb the natural soil layers, causing sediment particles to mix with the cold water. If work has been completed on the supply pipe switching water direction or flow, it may also stir up previously undisturbed sediment.

These particles can then flow into the water distribution system, causing a dirty tap water problem. This issue is particularly prevalent in rural areas with soil-rich environments and during heavy rainfall or flooding.

Aged and corroded pipes

Like any other developed country, Australia’s infrastructure includes many ageing water networks, such as old iron pipes, that can cause this particular household plumbing problem. Over time, these can become corroded and deteriorate, creating pesky leaking pipes or a build-up of air pressure. 

When you have a rusted plumbing pipe, it can mix with the water and cause discolouration. Rusty water can also result from disturbed sediment due to a sudden change in water flow or pressure in water pipes, such as during a water main break or repair. If the air becomes trapped, it can create tiny air bubbles that will also leave a cloudy, milky appearance with your water.

Iron and manganese deposits

The presence of naturally occurring minerals, such as iron and manganese, can cause water to turn brown. These minerals often originate from the rocks and soils the water passes through. 

When the debris mixes with tap water, it can cause the same issues of discolouration and an unpleasant metallic taste. Although these minerals are not usually harmful, high concentrations can cause aesthetic and taste issues.

Solutions for Brown Water 

While it might look somewhat similar to iced tea, brown water is a breeding ground for harmful contaminants. As such, tackling brown water issues requires immediate actions and long-term strategies to ensure clean and safe water for everyone. 

By exploring solutions such as installing filters, implementing regular pipe maintenance work, and investing in modern water infrastructure, we can conquer this pervasive problem.

1. Regular maintenance and upgrading of water infrastructure

One of the most effective ways to address brown water issues is by regularly maintaining and upgrading the water infrastructure. This includes replacing your old, corroded, rusty pipe and installing advanced filtration systems.

We also determine whether your issue stems from your hot or cold tap. Maintenance would include flushing your water heater if the brown water comes from your hot water only. It may indicate your water heater is at the end of its life and needs replacing.

By taking action, we can ensure that the water from your cold and hot tap remains free of contaminants and sediments. The government and private sectors must invest in improving water infrastructure to maintain high-quality water standards and prevent discoloured water.

2. Community-based water management

Community-based water management is another effective solution to tackle brown tap water problems. Such an approach involves the participation of local communities in the monitoring, management, and decision-making processes regarding their cold and hot water system.

By empowering communities to take charge of their water resources, developing tailored solutions to address their specific water quality issues is possible. 

This approach can include measures such as:

  • Implementing better land-use practices
  • Reduce sediment runoff
  • Promote water conservation practices
  • Notifying relevant sources of potentially hazardous pipes and water asap.

3. Installation of point-of-use water filters

Installing point-of-use water filters can provide an immediate solution to brown water issues in individual households. These filters can effectively remove sediments, rust, and minerals that pass through at the valves’ opening, improving the water’s taste and appearance, even when experiencing a sudden high demand from the household or workplace. 

There are various types of filters available, including:

By selecting the appropriate filter based on the specific water quality issues, households can enjoy clean and safe drinking water from the cold tap. Along with adding a filter, in some circumstances, we may combine or use a water softener to actively remove particles from all the taps as part of our plumbing services.

4. Public awareness and education campaigns

Educating the public about the causes and solutions of brown water can play a crucial role in addressing this issue. Public awareness campaigns can provide information on identifying potential water quality problems and promote best practices for water conservation and infrastructure maintenance. 

By raising awareness, you’re ultimately contributing to better water quality nationwide.

5. Get your water pipes checked by a licensed plumber

If you cannot remove the brown water from your cold and hot water tap, we recommend contacting us, your Canberra Plumbing & Drains crew. As your local plumber, we will skillfully identify the source of the problem and provide expert guidance on resolving your brown water concerns. 

We have the expertise to stop brown water coming out of your water tap. Our goal is for your nearby pipe to remain free from any organic matter affecting the water quality through routine flushing and ongoing maintenance. Whether that means you need a reliable party laying new piping or a simple tweak to make the air pressure bubbles clear out, we can help.

Government Regulations and Enforcement Surrounding Water Supply

The Australian government is responsible for ensuring the country’s water supply remains safe and high-quality. This is done by implementing strict regulations on water quality standards and enforcing these regulations on water utilities and providers. 

Finding a certified local plumber who’ll undertake regular water quality testing and monitoring can help identify potential issues, allowing for timely intervention and resolution with water mains repair if the problem persists. Imposing penalties on those who fail to meet the required standards can act as a deterrent and encourage better water management practices. 

Government support for research and development of innovative water treatment technologies can also contribute to addressing the issue of brown water in Australia.

Are You Experiencing Dirty Tap Water?

Brown water is a complex issue resulting from various factors, such as sediment runoff, aged and corroded pipes, excessive minerals like iron and manganese, or a faulty network valve preventing a mains network reverse flow. By understanding these causes and implementing a combination of solutions, Australians can effectively tackle the problem of brown water.

Clear, safe water is a fundamental human right. Ensuring access to high-quality water is the collective responsibility of government bodies, water utilities, communities, individual citizens and us, your professional plumber.

Trust Canberra Plumbing & Drains to Clean Up Your Water

By working together, we can address the issue of brown water and contribute to healthier and more sustainable practices for your home or business. 

We appreciate you can’t go a few hours without clean water, and we are happy to offer fast, effective and affordable solutions to remedy the situation. From switching to copper pipes, to installing a new supply pipe altogether, to identifying issues with the mains supply, we can assist in preventing any further inconvenience or health problems. 

Contact us today to get started.