Why Is My Water a Weird Color?

First of all: your water should never come out of your tap in any color. Colors in your water are always a sign of some kind of plumbing problem. The specific type of problem you have depends on the specific color of your water. Here’s what it could mean if your water comes out of your tap in any of the following colors:

Orange, Red, or Brown

If the water coming from your fixtures appears to be reddish-orange, it probably contains excess iron or manganese. In all likelihood, your water picked up all that iron and manganese after passing through rusted, outdated pipes. The difference in shades from lighter orange to darker red or brown depends on how much oxidation has occurred.

Rusty water won’t necessarily negatively affect your health, but that doesn’t mean it can’t harm you. Rusty water can stain clothing, bathtubs, and showers. It will also significantly affect the taste of tap water and the food cook with it. Unfortunately, if any of your pipes have started to rust, then your whole pipe system has probably started to rust. Replacing all the rusty pipes is the only way to permanently fix this problem.


It’s pretty startling to turn on the tap and see bright pink water coming out of it. Don’t fret – it’s not because of aliens in the water supply. It’s actually because of potassium permanganate. Potassium permanganate is a chemical municipal water plants use to treat and protect water systems. It removes bacterial growth and dissolves unwanted materials in water like minerals, manganese, and hydrogen sulphide.

If your water looks pink, you should just leave it running for a few minutes. More often than not, the water will stop looking pink within a short period of time. If it doesn’t, however, you can contact your water supplier so they know about deposit build-ups. Either way, water that contains hydrogen sulphide is safe to drink and use.


If your water is green, it probably contains algae. Algaes occur in water naturally but only develop to the point of changing your water’s color if they’re aided by blockages. Blockages and clogs create stoppage points in your plumbing where algae can build up.

If your water looks green, call a plumber. We’ll be able to figure out where the stoppages in your water line are and clear them out. Soon after clearing out your water pipes, your water should return to its normal color.


If the water coming from your tap is black, you have a serious problem. Black water happens for one of two reasons: mold or sewage. Either there is mold growing somewhere inside your pipes, or raw sewage is leaking into your pipes. Either way, you should do something about your water problem right away. Call in the pros. We can determine what’s causing your black water problem and figure out the best way to fix it.

No matter what color your water is, if you ever have problems with it, Ben Franklin Plumbing can help! Give us a call anytime you’re having a problem with water that’s too hot, too cold, too slow, or too fast. We’ll get your home’s water supply back to the right speed, temperature, and (of course!) color.