Centennial Water District(breadcrumbs are unavailable)

Drinking water taste and odor

The major source of drinking water for Highlands Ranch is surface water from the South Platte River. At certain times of the year or during drought conditions Centennial Water may choose to supplement the drinking water supply with groundwater sources (wells).

Below are typical concerns, their most common causes and what you can do about them. If you have any of these problems or if they don’t clear in the suggested time frame, contact Centennial Water at 303-791-2185.


Why does my water taste or smell different?

At times, generally the months of April through October, water can have an unusual taste, odor or appearance. Aesthetic characteristics generally do not pose a public health threat. There are ways to improve the aesthetics of the tap water delivered to your home. The first step in solving a taste, odor or appearance issue is to identify whether it originates from the household plumbing or the water utility.

Chlorine, chemical or medical tastes or odors
Usually caused by the addition of chlorine used as a disinfectant, to the water by your public water system, or the interaction of chlorine with a build-up of organic matter in your plumbing system. This is not a health threat. However, if you find the chlorine taste to be unpleasant, you can fill a container with water and chill it in the refrigerator before use.

Moldy, musty, earthy tastes or odors 
Commonly caused by seasonal occurrences when organic matter such as plants or algae, are more prevalent in lakes, reservoirs, and the canals that deliver water to water treatment facilities. These things are removed as the water is treated, but harmless residual odors will remain in the water (in much the same way the aroma of roses will remain in a room long after the roses have been removed). With current treatment technologies, the odor-causing compounds are difficult to remove. The detection of residual odors is dependent upon an individual’s sensitivity. Many people may never detect them, while others who are sensitive may detect the musty/moldy taste and smell at levels below instrument detection levels. To problem-solve this issue, put a small amount of water in a narrow glass, step away from the sink, swirl the water around inside the glass and smell it. If the water has no odor, then the likely problem is the sink drain. The drain can be cleaned by pouring bleach in the drain, allowing it to stand for a few minutes, then flushing with water.

Sulfur or rotten egg taste or odor
Commonly caused by bacteria growing in your sink drain or water heater. But, in some cases, this smell is caused by naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide. To problem-solve the cause, put a small amount of water in a narrow glass, step away from the sink, swirl the water around inside the glass and smell it. If the water has no odor, then the likely problem is bacteria in the sink drain. The drain can be cleaned by pouring bleach in the drain, allowing it to stand for a few minutes, then flushing with water.

If the water has an odor, the problem could be your water heater
This occurs if the hot water has been unused for a long time, the heater has been turned off for a while, or the thermostat is set too low. Contact a licensed plumber to remedy this problem.

Metallic taste
Usually due to minerals, such as iron or copper that can leach into water from pipes. Metals such as zinc and manganese are less common causes. Only a certified laboratory can analyze the water to determine if metals are present. Additionally, some medications prescribed by doctors can cause a patient’s taste and odor senses to be distorted to the point where water and other food and beverage items taste metallic. If you think medications may be the issue, check with your doctor of pharmacist, or if you believe it is the water, then have your water analyzed by a certified lab, or contact Centennial Water staff at 303-791-2185.

Different taste
At times when we are using groundwater sources, water from wells, residents may notice a different taste or odor that may be described as chemical tasting or metallic.

Our groundwater sources contain different levels of minerals. Sometimes, when we blend these sources with our treated surface water, our residents notice a difference in the taste of the drinking water.


Additional questions

What is the black, pink or green stuff in my bathroom?
Sometimes you will find a mold or bacteria growing in your shower, sink or toilet.  This problem can be solved using an anti-bacterial solution or chemical on the surface or wiping the surface to keep it dry. 

What is the fish egg substance coming out of my faucet?
A substance resembling fish eggs is media discharge from your water softener. If this occurs, you will need to call a licensed professional to service the water softener.

Is my water safe to drink?
Yes. Highlands Ranch residents can be assured all of our sources of drinking water, both surface and groundwater, are tested on a regular basis and they meet all state and federal drinking water regulations and requirements.

Why should I flush my water heater?
Have you flushed your water heater lately? This important task should be done at least once a year to remove sediment that accumulates on the bottom of the tank. That’s especially true if you live in a hard-water area. The task is easy to blow off because it’s out of sight, but skipping it can cost you a lot. Sediment buildup reduces the heating efficiency of your water heater. It would cause your tank to leak or pressure to build up and release out the pressure release valve. 

Here are three links that show how to flush out water heaters:

How to Flush a Water Heater

How to Flush a Residential Water Heater

How to Flush Your Hot Water Heater


For more information
If you have further questions, please contact the Centennial Water water quality laboratory at 303-791-2185.