Common Problems Experienced by Customers

Common Problems Experienced by Customers

Water quality problems are most often associated with how water smells, tastes or looks. If you have one of the problems listed below, the first step in solving the issue is finding the source. You can find steps on how to do this here.

Orange or brown coloured water

Bottle of orange brown waterIs your water orange/brown when you first turn on your tap? Does it then run clear after a short time? If so, the problem is in the plumbing of your house. We call it 'corrosion of dissimilar metals'.

If you live in an older home with original plumbing, it's possible the pipes are cast iron. Over time, the pipes can corrode. Older homes often have extensions to provide more living area, and the new plumbing is often copper pipe. When you have copper and cast iron pipes used together, corrosion happens much faster. Sometimes it only takes a very small section of copper in your pipes to produce this effect.

Your orange/brown water is telling you the pipe walls are corroding. If this is left untreated, it will lead to a pipe leak or burst. Your plumber should be able to help you to locate and rectify the problem.

Dirty water – all of a sudden

Bottle of dirty waterBurst water mains or changes in your area's flow conditions, may change the colour of your water.

When we are aware of potential water issues, we will notify you. But, sometimes they will happen unexpectedly.

If this occurs, don't use a dishwasher or washing machine until the problem is fixed.

Make sure you report dirty water to our Customer Service Centre so we can investigate and take appropriate action.

Milky water

Bottle of milky waterWater can appear milky if air mixes with the supply. The milkiness is caused by lots of small bubbles that are pressurised and dissolved into the water. 

Milky water may occur in water mains if you live in an area with high water pressure, such as near a pumping station. Air can also be introduced into your household pipes in various ways; one is a faulty inlet valve on a washing machine.

If you have milky water, fill a glass and allow it to stand for a few minutes. If the problem is due to air, the water will become clear over a few minutes. This happens as the air bubbles rise to the surface.

Aerated water has no risk to your health. If your water is permanently cloudy and you're concerned, please contact us.

Chlorine taste or smell

We use chlorine as a disinfectant in many of our systems to ensure your water is safe to drink. If we didn't do this, you would be at risk of a number of microorganisms that could damage your health. The amount of chlorine used is regulated and compliant with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

If your drinking water smells or tastes of chlorine, a simple solution is to refrigerate it. Try filling a jug and chilling the water before you use it. Chlorine dissipates quickly and you'll find a significant improvement in taste by using this method.

However, if you are concerned, please contact us.

Earthy or musty taste or smell

From time to time, algal numbers in our reservoirs develop to the point that they make the water smell earthy or musty. We do our best to remove these odours in our treatment plants, however some people may still notice a faint taste or odour in their drinking water.

This may also occur if you have above-ground plastic pipe on your property. The plastic will break down over time and a biofilm may start growing on the inside of the pipe. Your plumber will be able to inspect your pipes for you.

However, if you are concerned, please contact us.

Metallic taste

A metallic taste in your tap water usually indicates high levels of iron and/or copper. Both can leach into your water from corroded pipes.

To fix this, the first step is to have your plumbing inspected for corrosion.

However, if you are concerned, please contact us.

Septic smell

Water with very low levels of dissolved oxygen will develop a septic/rotten egg odour. But this should not happen in your drinking water. The most common cause of this type of problem is the drain.

Over time, organic matter such as hair, soap and food waste can accumulate on the walls of the drain. Bacteria can then grow on that organic matter. What you can smell is the gas produced by the bacteria.

You will be more likely to smell the rotten egg odour when water from the shower or kitchen tap runs over the drain.


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  • Major faults

  • Reported

  • Bentham St
  • Adelaide
  • 26/06/2017
  • Major Leak
  • Last Updated: 26/06/2017 09:23 AM - We have received a report of an incident in Adelaide. Water supply in the surrounding area may be impacted as we resolve this issue. Traffic restrictions may also apply. Reference Number WO: 05882794.

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  • Scheduled works

  • Underway
  • Calstock Av
  • Edwardstown
  • 26/06/2017
  • Supply Interruption
  • Estimated start time (water off): 27/06/2017 09:00 AM
    Estimated restore time (water back on): 27/06/2017 04:00 PM

    We’re committed to improving your services and are undertaking maintenance work in Edwardstown. Water supply in the surrounding area may be impacted during the above times. Traffic restrictions may also apply.


  • See all scheduled works