Tap Water Odors

We know our water here in the Valley is safe to drink. So, it’s a little surprising that the water which comes out of your tap can also have a faint odor, especially in the fall months.  Today, we’re going to explain why your tap water has a scent and what you can do to about it. 

While the tap water in our Valley may arrive in your kitchen is potable, it may have an off taste or strange odor. Water services uses chlorine to make the water safe, and the smell is detectable at times.

Or, you may get a whiff of chlorine or algae.

Why algae?


The process of transporting water over vast distances before it reaches your tap is an arduous one. Sometimes, especially during the end of a hot summer, algae presents itself in canals. The odor permeates the water, so even the city filtration systems, while they can make the water clean, don’t always get the smell of algae out.  The City of Phoenix water service web page likens the odor to ‘like a bouquet of roses,' which will leave a scent in the room even when the flowers have been removed. While algae don’t smell the same as a bouquet of roses, we certainly appreciate the analogy as a means of deflecting public perception of the stinky water.

What can I do about odor?

The city recommends adding a little lemon to your drinking water, or pouring it into a container to allow it to ‘breathe’ for about a half an hour, like a fine wine. These methods are perfectly acceptable, and we will leave it to our readers to try them or not as they choose.

Another option is to use a filter, such as a reverse osmosis filter for your sink tap, hidden beneath the sink. You can try a filtered pitcher for the refrigerator or even a whole-house system. The one caveat is that the cartridges on any filtration system need to be changed according to the unit’s directions.

When not to drink it


n spite of the odor at certain times of the year, the people at water services work hard to provide safe drinking water for their customers. They have meticulous standards and test for a considerable number of unsafe materials on a frequent basis. Still, a little common sense is in order. If the water from the tap has particulates, or if your water is shut off for a line repair, you may want to avoid drinking it for a bit. Also, if your hot water emerges with an orange tint, give us a call. Your water heater may be failing!

If you need a licensed, bonded, insured plumber for your Phoenix area leak or your next plumbing project, call MNS Plumbing today at 602-362-4524