Water FAQs - Appearance & Smell

What do I do when my water smells like rotten eggs?

Bacteria growing in your sink drain or hot water heater may cause odor. Naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide in your water supply may also cause this odor. To evaluate the cause, put a small amount of water in a narrow glass, step away from the sink, swirl the water around inside the glass, and smell it. If the water has no odor, the likely problem is bacteria in the sink drain. If the water does have an odor, it could be from your hot water heater. There is an element in your hot water heater designed to protect it from corrosion. Sometimes the element causes sulfide smell as it deteriorates over time. A licensed plumber may be able to evaluate this problem. If you rule out the drain and the water heater, and the odor is definitely coming from the tap water, call KPUD Customer Service at 360-779-7656.

What do I do when my water smells like chlorine?

The chlorine odor of tap water can be traced to the chlorine "residual," a low level of chlorine maintained in water to guard against bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which may be in water as it flows from the source to points of use. In the US, even treatment plants that use non-chlorine disinfection technologies are required to add chlorine to the water before it flows into the distribution system. The chlorine residual acts like a "body guard" for water in transit. As long as there is a residual level of chlorine, the consumer is reasonably protected from harmful microorganisms.

To eliminate chlorine, add lemon juice or allow an open container of water to sit for several hours.