Some people are more sensitive to subtle changes in taste or odors. Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) uses the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers as water sources. By using surface water, there can be some seasonal variations that occur. The treatment process should eliminate the variation in finished water, but sometimes there will be a slight change some customers may notice. For example, there may be a slight increase in smell or taste of chlorine at times, especially during a river’s spring thaw. This is easily remedied by storing water for drinking in a pitcher in the refrigerator.
If you think you have an issue with taste and odor of the water in your home, there are a few things you can do to determine the source of the problem. Check to see if the problem is apparent in all fixtures of the home. For example, is the issue apparent in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room utility sink? Many times the issue is only at one fixture. This would indicate the cause is something in the household plumbing. A few things to consider would be: Has there been a recent change in the household plumbing? Do you have an in-home water treatment device that needs regular service or filter changes? Plastics can impart flavors and odors to the water; this can include parts in the faucet, plumbing lines, or appliances. If the problem is present in all fixtures, try running the tub or shower faucet for a period of time and then recheck to see if there is still an issue.
If it is an odor issue, try pouring a glass and then smelling it in another room. Sometimes the odor may be coming from another source, possibly a drain or garbage can, in the same room. By eliminating this possibility, one can ensure that it is the water that contains the odor. If you notice a sulfur odor, it may be from your home’s hot water heater. If the temperature is not set high enough, bacteria can grow in the water heater. A possible solution for this would be to turn the heater up high for a couple hours then return the setting to a normal level. If this is done, please use caution the first few times water is turned on, as water could still be hot.
If you are storing drinking water for convenient use, here are a few things to help prevent taste and odor issues. Store water in a glass container, as plastic can impart taste or odors to the water. Also make sure the container has a good seal. Store in the refrigerator as water will have less flavor when chilled. If the water has sat for a while, it may be flat. If this is the case, pour it back and forth between containers or shake it to help aerate the water. This will help to add oxygen to the water and remove the stale, flat flavor.
If you are still experiencing problems, please call your Des Moines Water Works at 283-8700 and report the issue and the duration the problem has been apparent. We will work with you to diagnose the problem.