The water is causing the pipes to leak
Much of the water throughout Ireland is acidic to some degree and often to the extent that it causes the plumbing, especially the copper cylinder, to leak. This is due to Carbon Dioxide (CO2) dissolved in the water; a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide is needed in the water to keep the lime dissolved, but when there is extra Carbon Dioxide present, called free Carbon Dioxide, the water is said to be aggressive, that is, it will dissolve metals, especially soft metals like copper and lead. The Carbon Dioxide normally comes from decaying vegetation, usually in boggy areas. This problem can be solved.
The Water is Discoloured
There are many reasons why water becomes discoloured; the most common would be organic material in the water, due to decaying vegetation, it may also have a slight odour or taste. Carbon Filters will do an excellent job at removing these kinds of problems, they are not at all expensive and come in many sizes.
The Water has a Reddish-Brown Colour
Both Iron and Manganese will discolour water. Depending on the levels present in the water a purpose built filter may be necessary. A water analysis would be required.
The Water has a Dull Appearance with a Blackish Tinge
In this situation it is likely that the water contains Manganese but no Iron, for if there were Iron in it, it would be a reddish-brown colour. The Filter that is used to remove Manganese is also used to remove Iron and Lime. A water analysis would be required.
The Water has a Yellowish Tint
Tannins in water are another common reason for discolouration. If a glass of water is taken from the cold kitchen tap and allowed to stand undisturbed for two or three days, if there is Iron in the water it will settle on the bottom of the glass and the water will be clear, but if this doesn’t happen, and the water continues to have a yellowish tint to it, then in that situation, it is not Iron, but most probably Tannins.
The Hot Water has a Greenish-Blue Hue
If the hot water has a slight greenish-blue hue and causes a greenish-blue staining of sinks, then that water is acidic to some degree and can be neutralised with an acid neutralising filter.
There is Sand or Grit in the water
If the sand or grit are large and heavy and fall to the bottom of a glass without much difficulty, then they are larger then 25 Microns and can be filtered out quite easily, if however, the sand or grit is tiny and light like mud and don’t easily settle at the bottom of a glass, then these are almost impossible to filter-out.
There is an Odour or Taste from the Water
The only odour or taste that you are likely to get from a public water supply is the odour or taste of chlorine which is caused by the chlorination of water in public supplies. Sometimes you can actually smell the chlorine from the water, especially if you live close to the Water Treatment Plant. This can be removed by a Reverse Osmosis Unit or by a Drinking Water System or by a large or small Carbon Filter.
There is a Rotten-Egg Smell (Hydrogen Sulphide)
If there is a smell from the water in a private well supply it is almost certain to be Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) especially if it has a rotten-egg smell.
If the Hydrogen Sulphide originates at your well, or somewhere after your well; chlorinating your well, simply by pouring chlorine or some other sterilising agent like bleach down the well, often solves the problem. Add a bottle of domestic bleach to several gallons of water, and pour it down the well, this may well solve the problem permanently.
However, if the source of the Hydrogen Sulphide occurs somewhere before your well, then chlorination will not solve the problem.
There is a Smell from the Hot Water, but not the Cold
Many water heaters have an electrode with a positive charge, often referred to as an “anode rod” which produce excess ions that wear off the anode rod and adhere to the inside wall of the water heater, forming a protective layer, preventing it from corroding. Sometimes they are made from a magnesium type material this can chemically produce Hydrogen Sulphide from naturally occurring sulphates dissolved in the water. This problem can be easily solved.
It is also possible, but less likely, that bacteria (sulphur reducing bacteria) have contaminated the heating system and that they are producing Hydrogen Sulphide from the sulphates in the water. If this is the cause of the problem, the solution is to add a couple of cups of bleach to the water feeding the heater. Let the hot water run from all the hot water taps until you smell the bleach. Let the water sit throughout the system for a few hours. If the problem is caused by bacteria, this will certainly eliminate it.
The smell could also be as a result of some animal, especially a rodent, falling into the storage tank. A bacteria analysis would confirm if this is the case.
There is Ammonia in the water
The level of Ammonia in ground water is normally below 0.30mg/l. and at that level it is not a problem. Higher natural levels of up to 3mg/l can be found where there are layers of rock rich in humic constituents, similar to those found in boggy areas. Surface waters may also contain high levels. The presence of ammonia in water at levels higher than 0.30 mg/l are an important indicator suggesting that there may be harmful bacteria (faecal coliforms) present in the water, in this case it might be a good idea to have the water checked for bacteria.
Other problems include:-