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Common Water Issues

Cloudy Water

At times during the year, your tap water may appear cloudy or milky.  This is not a health concern. 

Cloudy water is usually caused by dissolved air which is released in the form of fine air bubbles when cold water becomes warmer or where there has been maintenance work done on the water main close to your property and air is trapped in the main.

These air bubbles give the water its cloudy appearance.

To confirm this, fill a glass with cold water allow it to stand.  You should notice the air bubbles disappear and clear from the bottom of the glass upwards.

If the problem persists, please contact Council on 07 577 7000.


Last Reviewed: 28/06/2016

Bad Taste / Smell

The City of Tauranga draws its water from two different surface water sources.  The Oropi Water Treatment Plant draws its water from Waiorohi river whilst Joyce Road Water Treatment Plant draws its water from the Tautau river.

Seasonally both sources have a natural, slightly "musty" odour which is caused by the growth of plants and algae in the river.  The purification process removes most of the natural odour and is rarely detected in cold water.  It may be noticeable in warmer water, especially to visitors accustomed to the taste and odour of their own drinking water.

If you are sensitive to this taste/odour, try keeping a jug of fresh, cold, tap water in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking. Carbon filters can also be used to remove taste/odour, but must be carefully maintained.

If you notice a "swampy" or "sulphur" odour when using the bathroom faucets, it is likely caused by decaying hair, dirt or debris that are caught in the drain and releasing an odour when you run your water.  To confirm this, fill a glass with cold water and take it immediately to another room in the house.  If the water is odourless, the odour is coming from your drain.  To correct the problem, pour a small amount of bleach down the drain.  Wait a few minutes then run your cold water tap for a minute to flush the drain.


Last Reviewed: 29/06/2016

Rusty Coloured Drinking Water

Fire hydrant flushing and water main flushing or repairs can disturb sediment in the water mains resulting in orange or brown coloured tap water. Water main and hydrant flushing is necessary to remove the build-up of sediment in pipe and ensure adequate pressure for fire protection systems.

This coloured water is not a health concern and can usually be corrected by turning on outside taps for approximately 10 minutes to flush any sediment out of the system. Once it becomes clear, check inside cold taps before trying hot taps.

If you notice coloured water when you turn on your hot water taps, you may need to contact a Licensed Plumber.


Last Reviewed: 28/03/2017

Chlorine Taste / Smell

Chlorine kills bacteria and viruses that are harmful to human health. Chlorine is necessary in the water distribution system to ensure the safety of the water to the further point of supply. Typically chlorine will go unnoticed by most water users.

Chlorine smell generated from water coming out from your household tap can, or may be, caused by chlorine reacting with organics in the water system. This typically occurs in winter and this is largely related to high rain fall events which introduce organics in to the water source.

Carbon filters can also be used to remove chlorine taste and odour, but must be carefully maintained and must be used in accordance to manufacturers' requirements.

If you are sensitive to this taste/smell, try to keep a jug of fresh, cold tap, water for drinking and cooking in the refrigerator with the lid off. This should eliminate the chlorine taste and odour.


Last Reviewed: 28/03/2017