Discolouration – white or brown water

If you are experiencing white or brown water in your home, here’s what could be causing the change in colour and how to fix it.

What to do if you have discoloured water

If your water appears to be cloudy, a different colour, or it has bits in it, this video will explain what you should do.

White water

Sometimes tap water can appear white or milky which is usually the result of air bubbles in the water.

You can confirm this by pouring a glass of water from the tap and allowing it to stand. If the water clears from the bottom to the top the discolouration is caused by tiny air bubbles. If it clears from the top downwards, it is likely there are chalky deposits in the water due to hardness.

If we are doing work on a water main, air can get into the system and dissolve under the pressure of the water.

White water can also be caused by a burst or repaired main in your area. This usually clears within 24 to 48 hours. Find out if we are currently carrying out any work in your area.

If you are still experiencing problems after this time, contact us.

Brown water

Brown water is generally caused by iron in the water supply and can be a result of rust sediment in the main becoming disturbed. It can occur when:

  • there is a burst water main
  • a main has been turned back on after a repair
  • a third party is using a large volume of water, eg, the fire service.

Private internal plumbing and service pipes made of iron, including galvanised pipes, can also lead to the accumulation of iron sediments over time which can cause brown water. The colour and sediment within the water will be rust particles from the inside of iron pipes.

These particles are mostly iron which is viewed as an essential part of a normal diet. However, we would recommend that you do not drink discoloured water as it may have an unpleasant taste.

If you experience brown water, please follow our flushing advice below.

Flushing advice

Leave your cold water kitchen tap running until your water runs clear again – this can take up to 40 minutes.

If you have a water softener

Bypass your water softener before flushing your cold water kitchen tap.

If you can't do this, flush your outside tap or the tap in your downstairs bathroom or utility room.

If you have a boiling water tap

Flush your outside tap or the tap in your downstairs bathroom or utility room.

If your water hasn’t turned clear

If running your taps fails to solve the problem, please contact us.

Apply for a flushing allowance

If you are on a water meter and have had to run your tap, you can claim a flushing allowance.