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Here's why your water tastes terrible

It’s an uneasy feeling when your tap water tastes like rotten eggs. Or chlorine. Or metal. What’s going on in the water to give it those peculiar flavors? Here are the top reasons why tap water can taste, and smell, terrible.

Taste: Rotten Eggs
Culprit: Hydrogen Sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide is a prime—and easy to identify—offender in water supplies, but it’s also a natural one. It can occur when bacteria in the soil metabolize sulfur and then emit hydrogen sulfide as a byproduct. It’s harmless to ingest, but it is unpleasant to the senses and can corrode pipes over the long term.

Taste: Swimming Pool
Culprit: Chlorine
The reason for this widespread complaint is simple. Both chlorine and chloramine are common disinfectants in water systems. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that utilities use chlorine to avert waterborne diseases. Chloramine is seeing wider use nowadays because it’s more stable than chlorine and because it doesn’t result in as many harmful byproducts when it reacts with other compounds naturally found in water supplies.

Taste: Tin Can
Culprit: Minerals
Trace amounts of iron, zinc, manganese and copper can find their way into your tap water from old pipes or from natural sources, since water can collect iron and manganese from soil. Iron, which gives water a reddish hue, can stain clothes. While low levels of iron or zinc shouldn’t cause health issues, lead is another story, so it’s a good idea to have your water tested if it has a metallic taste.

Taste: The Ocean
Culprit: Chlorides
Salty water coming out of your tap can be unsettling because it’s a familiar flavor—almost like ocean water or the salted water we use for pasta. Most of the time, the actual reason for it is chlorides, which occur naturally in soil. Still, it is possible that seawater is seeping into the water supply, and in one case from New Jersey, the reason was road salt, which is used to clear streets after snowfall.

If you’ve noticed that your water tastes “off,” it might be time to consider using a water purifier, like Coway Aquamega, in your home. Coway Aquamega can improve the taste, mouth-feel and health of your drinking water.