Why does water look white?

When tap water is cloudy or doesn't taste good

Every German consumes around five liters of tap water every day. Originally the water comes from nature. It is extracted from groundwater deposits or springs, sometimes from lakes and rivers. Before the water in the kitchen or bathroom can flow out of the tap, the strict quality controls of water suppliers and independent analysis laboratories such as SGS Institut Fresenius take effect. But what should you do if the tap water still tastes strange or instead of a clear pipe bead only cloudy broth comes out of the tap?

"If the water does not come out of the tap clear, but cloudy white, it can have various causes," says Hans-Georg Karbach, laboratory expert at SGS Institut Fresenius. “Many consumers conclude that it has a high lime content. However, this is not so high in German drinking water that it could actually cloud the water ”. Air in the water pipe that is dissolved under pressure can also be the cause of the initial cloudiness in the water glass. When it then slowly escapes, the cloudiness clears up. This does not affect the quality.

If cloudy water from the tap tastes like copper or plastic, however, this indicates damage to water pipes, defects in the in-house water installation or defective fittings. Then it's time to call the landlord or the water supplier directly.

However, there are some potential dangers in water, such as germs or bacteria, that humans cannot see, smell or taste. “Strict controls ensure the high quality of drinking water in Germany. In addition to water suppliers, institutes for laboratory analysis such as the SGS Institut Fresenius regularly examine drinking water samples from residential complexes, office buildings, schools, hospitals, commercial buildings, hotels and restaurants, ”says SGS water expert Karbach. In doing so, they are based on the drinking water ordinance applicable in Germany. This contains regulations to protect water for human consumption in particular.

“Certain chemical substances are also only allowed in very low concentrations. This includes, for example, heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, iron, copper, nickel or zinc, ”says Karbach. “If the values ​​of a drinking water analysis for such elements rise above defined limits, there is a need for action. Elevated laboratory values ​​can be indicators of contaminated drinking water. ”Residues of these metals can get into the drinking water through corrosion in the pipe network or through deposits in older pipes.

Many water suppliers, energy providers or pharmacies offer drinking water analyzes for private individuals. They sell sampling sets and have the water analyzes carried out in accredited laboratories. Testing institutes such as the SGS Institut Fresenius, on the other hand, are commissioned to carry out tests on a larger scale. Laboratory expert Karbach: “We mostly carry out drinking water analyzes on behalf of authorities, property managers or housing associations. Regular analyzes are important and make a decisive contribution to the consistently high quality of tap water in Germany. "

Source: SGS Institut Fresenius

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