If you start noticing a strange taste from the tap water at your home, or if you get more than you expected from the taste of the water somewhere else, there are a number of possibilities. The first and most obvious answer is that there is something in the water that shouldn't be. But what is it? That depends on the taste.
My water tastes like dirt
Water that tastes or smells like dirt is more common than it should be. if the taste is coming from an isolated faucet, you should remove it and clean it thoroughly, including replacing the filter. If that doesn't help, replace the faucet. If that doesn't work, the problem may be in the pipes leading to the faucet. In that case, you should consult a plumbing professional. If the taste and smell is coming from all of your water sources inside, it is likely coming from your supplier that way. One common cause in warm weather are algae blooms on water sources that are not quite filtered out during processing. If you begin noticing the taste of dirt, contact your water supplier immediately.
My water tastes like metal
Water that tastes like metal can be a sign of a more serious issue. Generally, a metallic taste in water is
caused by either low pH or actual trace elements of metal. Trace elements of metal can leach into water from old or rusty pipes. This is something that should be investigated right away to make sure that the metal you are tasting is not lead. Lead consumption can lead to serious medical side effects. Just like with dirt or other strange tastes, the first thing to do is try to locate the source. Is it an isolated water source or the entire water supply? Either way, the water should be tested by a professional to determine what the contaminant is and at what level it is present. If you live in an older home this is particularly important. Lead was commonly used in pipes in the early 1900's and most metal pipes have a lifespan of 80-100 years, no matter what they are made of.
My water tastes like salt
A salty taste is an indication of sulfates, which occur naturally in some types of soil. If your water supply is fed by groundwater, this could be a natural occurrence or the result of runoff. This can happen during winter, for example. when runoff from salted roads makes its way into reservoirs. High levels of sulfates can cause damage to pipes in homes and have an unpleasant diarrhea effect on people. If you taste salt, try to locate the source and have your water tested by a professional.
My water tastes like sugar
Sweet tasting water can be caused by excess minerals like iron or calcium when they are found in larger quantities. Excessive amounts of either one can cause medical issues.
There are many other ways that water can look, taste and smell that we find confusing or unpleasant. Whatever the problem, the solution is the same. Locate the source of the contamination, test the water to make sure it's OK to drink and fix the problem. The assistance of a professional will be required to test the water, flush or replace pipes or solve any other issues in your home. If the problem is with your water supplier, you will have to make sure they are aware of the problem and their obligation to fix it. If you feel that your local water supplier is not giving you satisfactory water, you can contact your state or national Environmental Protection Agency to report the problem.