A change in look, taste or smell of your water is a sign that there might be something wrong. However, such changes may be temporary and harmless.

For example, distribution pipes in local water systems often break, sending rust, dirt and other junk into our water. In such cases, local engineers can often return the water to its previous quality in a matter of hours. Besides going without water for a while, running faucets for a few minutes after the problem has been addressed is often all you need to do to protect your health.

But while changes in look, taste or smell often result from minor problems, the Flint water crisis taught us it’s better to be on high alert. When Flint residents raised concerns about their water, state and local officials didn’t take them seriously enough. The results were devastating: Flint residents drank, cooked with and bathed in lead-tainted water for far too long before action was taken.

What seems wrong with your water?


Don’t drink or cook with your water until the problem is resolved (or you’re certain it is safe).

Call your local public water system and health department to report the problem and find out if they know what is causing it.

Follow all advisories that public health and water officials establish for local drinking water. Boil water advisories throughout the state will be monitored and updated on the homepage.

A change in look, taste or smell of your water is a sign that there might be something wrong.


Boil water advisory:An advisory issued to the public when a water source is shut off, or when the pressure level of a water source drops below 20 psi. With this loss of pressure, there is a great possibility for water to become contaminated with harmful bacteria. Thus, under these conditions it is advised that community members boil their water before consuming to prevent contamination (Greer Commissions for Public Works).


Most faucet filters are installed to filter out chemicals, not bacteria. Chemical filters, such as carbon filters, are often ineffective at removing germs, and vice-versa. In fact, many of the organic compounds which active carbon filtration removes encourage the presence of bacteria.