What is Color in Drinking Water?

Color in drinking water is a sign of the presence of contaminants such as iron and other dissolved and suspended materials in the water source. Although discoloration in drinking water is a natural phenomenon in most cases, it’s crucial to take action to correct the process to avoid potential health hazards in the future.
The discoloration will affect the quality and safety of your water. Whether you get your water from privately-owned or public water supply, or a deep well, testing your water source to ensure the safety and health of your family is a top priority. Therefore, it’s important to immediately conduct a water test on your water source once you’ve identified discoloration.

What Causes Color in Drinking Water?

Any change in the appearance and color of your water is a clear indication of potential problems. Once discoloration in water appears, you can expect changes in its taste and odor. Since there are several causes for color in the water, identifying the cause can help you find the best solution to the problem.
Decaying organic matters are the common causes of discoloration in water sources. Although they don’t pose any threat to human health, these contaminants listed by EPA as a secondary (aesthetic) parameter may affect the taste, appearance, smell, and quality of drinking water. The problem with decaying organic matters in drinking water is when they are chlorinated as they form trihalomethanes such as chloroform. Chlorinated organic compounds like chloroform are carcinogenic which makes consuming the contaminated drinking water dangerous to human health.

How Do You Test Water for Discoloration?

Visual comparison in Nessler Tubes from a sample collection of discolored water will help identify the level of color in chlorinated water. In water testing above 15 color units, gas chromatography is highly advised for the examination of total trihalomethanes in the drinking water.

How Do You Treat Color in Drinking Water?

Activated carbon filters, coagulation, and sedimentation are water purification methods that can help treat color in drinking water. When used correctly, these can remove color in drinking water and improve the quality, taste, odor, and appearance of the water. If the water source is a private well, addressing the root cause of the color in drinking water is the best course of action to prevent the reoccurrence of the problem.

List of Contaminants

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