Tastes and Odors

Water can have an unpleasant odor, taste, or appearance. These aesthetic characteristics usually do not pose a public health threat. State rules require public water systems to treat aesthetic water quality problems for new sources or if customers request treatment and are willing to pay for it. Most people want their water to look, taste, and smell good.

Musty, earthy odors and tastes may signal dissolved solids. Such aromas and tastes may be caused by decaying organic matter in the plumbing or even in the source water itself.

Then there’s the smell and taste of chlorine. It’s there for disinfection to make water safer to drink and originates during the normal chlorination treatment process, but to enjoy the taste you may want to get rid of it.


Metallic smells and tastes may be a sign of mercury, lead, copper, arsenic, or iron in the water. Manganese and zinc may also cause a metallic smell or taste. These chemicals may come from the pipes themselves.

Water treatment can address bad odor and taste issues.

While taste issues are only noticed at the faucet(s) where water is used for drinking, bad smelling water can be noticeable any place in or around a home or office where water is used. Depending on the extent of faucets affected, a choice can be made whether water treatment for the whole building or just at a specific faucet is best suited for your needs.

Solutions to remove bad taste and odor