When you turn on the faucet, you definitely expect the water flowing out of the tap to be clear. If you notice a weird color in your water, what does it mean and is it dangerous?

In most cases, water discoloration is a sign of aging and rusty pipes. However, it could also be a sign of:


  • Algae buildup
  • Mildew growth
  • Sewer leakage
  • Mineral accumulation
  • Excess potassium permanganate
  • Malfunctioning filtration system


The color of the water flowing out of your taps provides a hint to what could possibly be causing the problem. Here is a breakdown of what each color means and what you should do about it.

Red, Brown, Orange or Yellow Water

If your water is red, orange, brown or yellow, then you are probably dealing with a case of rusty pipes and aging mains. Old, galvanized pipes are likely to develop rust over time due to chemical oxidation caused by the combination of oxygen and water. The sediments from the inside walls of the pipe will mix with your water and as a result, discolor it. You may have to enlist a licensed plumber to replace the corroded pipes or the entire plumbing system.

Pink Water

Pink water is a sign of too much potassium permanganate in your water supply. Potassium permanganate is a safe chemical used by the municipal to remove bacteria and unwanted chemicals from our water supplies. Too much of it will turn your water pink or purple. However, the color of the water will turn back to normal after a few minutes of use.

Green Water

Your tap water may turn green due to algae buildup. However, this normally happens with the aid of blocked pipes and clogged plumbing systems. Clogged pipes create stoppage points where algae can form subsequently contaminating your water. A licensed plumber can help identify these stoppage points and unclog your pipes.

Blue Water

Although rare, your water may turn blue because of copper plumbing corrosion. Copper pipes may corrode if your electrical connections are grounded to your plumbing systems. The copper pipes may also react to the minerals in the water and as a result, produce a bluish tint.

Black Water

Black water may happen because of mildew growth in your pipes or as a result of a sewer leak. Any of these causes can be unsettling to anyone since drinking water contaminated with mold or raw sewage is dangerous to your health. The only way to deal with sewer leakages and mold in pipes is to call a licensed plumber near you.

Milky White Water

Milky white or cloudy water is not a cause of concern since it is usually a natural phenomenon that occurs when air mixes with water due to increased pressure in the piping system. You will notice that the water will start clearing up gradually after a few minutes when you open the tap.

Is Discolored Water Dangerous?

Drinking discolored water may or may not harm your health. It all depends on the color of water flowing out of your tap. For instance, consuming rusty water may not be dangerous to your health, but it will stain your clothes, floors, showerheads and sink. It will also affect the taste of your food if you use it to cook. Drinking green or black water will certainly cause various health concerns since these shades of color mean that the water is contaminated with algae, mildew, chemicals or even human waste.

Call the Pros

If you notice a weird color in your water, do not use it. Instead, call professional plumbers to come help fix the problem right away. B&L Plumbing Service is here to help with all your plumbing needs.