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In the UK we get our water from many different sources, including chalk boreholes, upland reservoirs and lowland rivers, and each source has its own characteristic taste.


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Certain types of plastic can react with the chlorine in water and give a bitter, or TCP-type taste. There's no health risk with this chemical, but the taste is unpleasant.

And how does this affect the taste?

This taste usually occurs when a new appliance is installed, such as a washing machine, and a new hose has been installed. The taste is sometimes noticeable with new kettles. On rare occasions, it may be from when a rubber washer in a tap starts to break down.

Our top tips to help

Ensure appliances have non-return valves installed. If they're working, this should prevent water from the new hose from flowing back into your drinking water. If you have a new kettle, try boiling water in a saucepan and making a drink that way to see if the taste disappears.



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We want to make sure that your water is of the highest quality. To do this, we leave a small amount of chlorine in the drinking water supply after it leaves our treatment works.

…But why?

Chlorine has been used to treat drinking water for over 100 years! The small amount we leave in helps to maintain the quality of water within our pipe network so that it can arrive at your property free from any harmful bacteria. We check chlorine levels continually at our treatment works and right the way through to your taps. The smell of chlorine might be more noticeable if the water has warmed up or if it’s been standing in your pipes overnight.

Our top tips to help

If you're sensitive to chlorine and notice a slight taste or odour in your water, we suggest cooling your water by filling a jug and placing it in your fridge. This allows the chlorine to disperse and the taste and odour will improve. Remember to replace any unused water after 24 hours.

Metallic / bitter

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Your pipework can be made of metal, which means that any new installations or changes to your pipework could give your water a metallic or bitter taste.

And how does this affect the taste?

This taste is more obvious when the water has been standing in the pipework for a while, such as overnight. The taste should improve with time as a thin layer of limescale will form inside of the pipework.

Our top tips to help

Where mains water gets warmed by pipes nearby, for example, this can affect the taste. You should check the layout of the pipework and how close the cold and hot water pipes are. Any affected pipework should be lagged or re-routed as necessary. Running the tap to clear any water standing in the pipework should also help.

TOP TIP: Save the water you collect and use it to water your household plants.


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You might think your water smells rotten or stagnant, but usually this smell is coming from your sink or plug hole. If there's waste in the drain, then the water can push bad-smelling air into the room and make the water appear as if it has an odour.

Our top tips to help

Fill a glass with water and smell it in a different room, away from the kitchen sink. If the water smells fine, try cleaning your sink/plug hole with a normal domestic cleaner. However, if the water still smells when it’s away from the sink, it could indicate a problem and you should contact us immediately.



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If the ground around plastic water pipes becomes contaminated with fuel, e.g. from a spill from a car or a fuel storage tank, then this can sometimes be detected in your drinking water. If you notice this taste or odour, it's sensible that you do not drink your water and contact us immediately to discuss the issue with our Water Quality team, who will assess the situation and let you know what to do.

Things to consider:

  • Do you have a vehicle parked for long periods of time that could have fuel leaking onto the ground?
  • Do you live near a petrol station?
  • Do you have oil-fired central heating and oil storage at your property?

All of this information could be valuable to our team, so please let us know if you're aware of anything like this when you contact us.

Contact us immediately if you notice a particularly bad taste or a change in the taste, which means you cannot drink the water from your mains-fed, cold water tap.


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