You might notice that the water in your house has some bluish tint to it. This will be especially easy to spot in a clear glass when looking at water at an angle in a brightly lit place. For the inspection, choose a neutral and bright source of light, such as sunlight or clear white daylight.
Copper is the most common cause of a blue or green tint in well water. Corroded pipes can pass copper into the water. Also, other particles, salt, electrolysis, or excessive water pressure can be the reasons for your water having odd color or tint.
Read on as I’ll explain how you can determine if your home water that is coming from the well or city is polluted with copper and what you can do about it to fix this issue. But first, we need to understand how copper ends up in the water.
Detailed explanations of the causes
This usually happens because of old copper pipes that are installed for the water system in a house. Homebuilding, construction, and refurbishment technologies are constantly changing and improving. Only quite recently these changes started to happen in order to build healthier environments. Before, most innovations were focused on cutting costs and improving efficiency.
Copper pipes are still commonly used in the construction industry for water supply lines. Although with modern materials and better knowledge, copper pipes are becoming less popular for house water systems.
Copper pipes can last somewhere around 20 to 30 years, but that was not well known when these pipes were installed back in the day.
Of course, the wear of plumbing depends hugely on the water load that travels through it, the quality of the water, and the geographical location.
Related Article: Why is my water yellow?
Some common reasons why copper pipes can corrode
• Acidic water
Although copper is a resilient metal and easy to work with, it corrodes when exposed to acid. Simple water could be slightly acidic, meaning on a lower pH scale. There’s not much wrong at the moment, but over many years, this severely damages the pipes. The inner surface of copper pipes gets damaged and starts to release copper particles. This can happen not only for tap but also for well water.
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• Sediment and minerals
These particles can be particles of various sizes but are most likely very tiny. With the added pressure that the water source has while flowing through the system, this sediment can act like sandpaper. Multiply that by many years, and dirty, sandy water will slowly but steadily brush against the pipes while taking copper particles with it. As water coming from the well has more sediment and dirt than municipal water, this effect is amplified.
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• Excessive water pressure
A small chance, but excessive pressure can act violently on the piping system. For reasons similar to those stated above, this accelerates the rate of corrosion. If you own a well, then you probably have the water delivered with an electric pump and later distributed with a pressurized system.
Improper grounding in a household electrical grid can cause a small electrical charge that comes into contact with the copper piping. Since copper is an excellent conductor, the process called electrolysis can easily happen. During electrolysis, some electrons are removed from the copper molecules, resulting in corrosion of the pipe itself. In turn, the copper particles are released into traveling water and create that strange blue tint.
• Salty water
Probably very unlikely that excess salt will end up in your water source. But it’s important to know that slightly salty water can be really damaging to copper pipes. How can this happen?
If you live really close to the sea, there could be a small chance, but more likely, the salt can come from the ground deposits. So well water can be a suspect, especially if it’s known that rock salt could be found in the area.
What about blue tint in tap water?
For all the same reasons, common tap water can also be contaminated with copper and have a blue tint. It’s common in older buildings and districts, as it closely depends on the plumbing as well as on the water source. In fact, blueish water coming out of the tap will be the first sight that water is contaminated with copper.
Water travels through many different pipe systems until it reaches your tap. There are many ways for the water to absorb copper metals when it is flowing through the water system.
Do check other taps of the house and even talk with closest neighbors for similar-looking and tasting water. If it’s the same in the entire building or area, the reason might be hiding somewhere there and not simply in your apartment’s pipes.
Is blue water safe to drink?
I wouldn’t recommend it. Based on the World Health Organization recommendations, the maximum level of copper per liter should not exceed 2.0 milligrams. In the short term, it’s better than not drinking at all, sure. But drinking water that has traces of copper for a longer period of time can cause known symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Prolonged copper toxicity can lead to acute symptoms such as vomiting, increased risk for liver problems, and kidney disease.
Why is my bath water blue?
Blue bath water will be caused by copper or other particles that got into your water. Check your pipes that might be corroded or test your water to find issues. While bathing in blue water is safer than drinking it, it’s still not recommended. The body does absorb water and microelements through the skin.
It’s not likely that some reaction between water and your bath products would cause a reaction of coloring water blue. The copper, resulting in water, should be easily seen in larger quantities of water, such as baths. However, this is not always true. Baths that are not of clear white color or that are light with dimmer lights will make it harder to spot a blueish tint. Follow the same inspection procedure described in the first paragraph.
Test your water
After discovering that blue or green water is coming from the tap, it’s best to test it. You can buy a copper water testing kit on your own and use it.
Or, you can contact your local institution that handles the water service and its quality. A proper lab test can tell all about the water and what’s inside it.
What about green water?
Green and blue water can be the result of the same copper issue. Sometimes after installing new copper pipes, it takes some time for them to set. But, if the pipes are old and the water is green, it’s probably the same cause. Blue or green water tints can change color depending on lighting conditions and other dissolved minerals.
How to get rid of the blue/green tint and prevent it in the future?
It could have been happening for years before you noticed. Or someone else visiting noticed it for you. Or maybe you just moved in and noticed that the water from the tap has a strange color.
• If the cause is acidic water or salt
A pre-treatment unit used to soften the water and normalize the pH before entering the whole house pipes should do the job. Of course, a much more accessible way is to install a Reverse Osmosis well water system. If you already have a water filtration system, get a sediment filter for well water.
• If the case is electrolysis
Grounding the wires properly should do the job. Sometimes the pipes are used to ground the wire by construction workers. This is not a proper way to wire electricity. But if identified and solved, this might stop the copper corrosion altogether.
Contact a specialist and request a consultation after figuring out the reason. Most likely, it will be solved by using an earthing electrode next to the house instead of water piping for grounding.
• If it’s none of the above
Or even if it’s all the reasons. Some bronze fixtures or even an old faucet can contribute in similar ways. Changing the plumbing in your house to plastic PVC pipes might just solve all that for good.