Over the past week, residents in Springfield, Illinois, have noticed a strange taste in the tap water. Many people are reporting water that tastes and smells like dirt.
The local authority responds that the odd taste and odor are caused by the natural process of “lake turnover” at Lake Springfield. It is a seasonal phenomenon in which the lake's bottom is rising to the top and bringing sediment to come with it.
In order to remove the bad taste and odor, the local utility is putting more special chemicals in the water to help absorb the odors.

Why Does Your Water Taste Like Dirt

In fact, not only in Springfield, the “muddy” taste water has been reported in many cities across the country. Why does the water taste like dirt? Here are some main reasons to explain.


Water with high levels of geosmin is most likely to taste like dirt. Geosmin is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is produced by bacteria in soil or algae in local water sources.
Geosmin is harmless, but not tasteless. You will still be able to taste it even with a minimal amount of geosmin in your glass. The human body is quite sensitive to the flavor of this substance.
Summertime is the time when algal blooms, this is also the time when geosmin flavor issue happens the most. The chances of geosmin contamination get higher if your local water is sourced from lakes, dams, or rivers.
To offset the geosmin flavor, you can add acid like lemon juice or vinegar into the water. Yet, if you pour either lemon juice or vinegar into your drinking water, you end up having “flavored” water anyway. Therefore, water filtration to remove the bad taste would be the solid solution.

Heavy Metal

Another major reason for the dirt taste may be the heavy metal deposits from soil or old plumbing. Though some heavy metals have a distinct metallic flavor, most of them simply cause the water to taste earthy.
Common water contaminants like iron, manganese, zinc, and copper can generate undesirable tastes in water. The old and rusty city pipes or residential pipes made from iron could be a common source of contamination.

Is This Bad Taste Harmful to Your Health

If you identify geosmin as the cause of the bad taste, then the answer is no since the substance is harmless. If metal deposits are the source of the taste, then you need to test your water and find out what those metals exactly are.
Trace amounts of metals usually only bring a taste problem rather than a health problem for the city water supply. The metals in city water are not concentrated enough to harm your health.
Iron, for example, gives off a strong metallic taste but does not generally pose any health issues.
Lead and zinc, on the other hand, can produce some very serious health effects, especially at high concentrations. The risks of heavy metals in water are much higher if you use well water as the water source.

Is This Bad Taste Harmful to Your Health

Heavy Metal

Run a full pipe inspection and figure out whether the fault lies with the entire home plumbing system or a single tap.
Based on past water problem cases, the dirty aerator attached to your faucet has a high chance to be the cause of bad taste. It is the tiny cylinder screwed to the end of the faucet. You can either thoroughly clean the aerator or simply replace it with a new one.
If you’ve checked all your taps and they all have a dirty taste, then the problem may be the main supply of your source water. You then need to contact your local water supply company and discuss the issue with them.

Water Filters

Like we have briefly mentioned above, water filtration is the most certain solution to remove the bad taste and odor. There are two recommendations to offset the dirty taste: