Taste and odour problems

From time to time, you may notice your water tastes or looks slightly different. This is primarily due to the differences in the catchments that we source our water from.

Another factor is chlorination, which is an essential part of the process for delivering safe drinking water.

Depending on where your property is situated with respect to chlorine treatment, you may occasionally notice a chlorine taste or odour in your water. Small amounts of chlorine are added to the water as a disinfectant to destroy any waterborne, disease-causing micro-organisms (such as pathogens and infectious bacteria). The amounts are equivalent to less than half a teacup in an average backyard swimming pool. This ensures that the water remains safe to drink right up until it reaches the tap.

A way of easily and safely removing chlorine from your water is to fill a jug with water and put it in your fridge (out of direct sunlight). The chlorine will naturally dissipate from the water. After a few hours the chlorine will have mostly disappeared.

Water with a metallic taste may be the result of rusting or corroding of internal piping. For further information about these issues, refer to the sections on brown water and blue water.

Occasionally, customers report that their water tastes stale, muddy or has a high chlorine odour. This may be the result of a build-up of sediment or organic matter in the water main supplying their property. In these instances, South East Water's Faults & Emergencies Centre can arrange for the issue to be investigated. In most cases the removal of sediment/organic matter by flushing the mains will improve the taste and/or odour.