Why does my water have a strange taste or odor?

Most peculiar tastes or odors fall into one of the following three categories:

  • CHLORINE - At the treatment plant, the City adds a small amount of chlorine to the drinking water as a disinfectant, to kill or prevent the growth of harmful germs. Regulations limit the amount of chlorine so that it keeps the water safe to drink. If you are sensitive to the chlorine taste, an easy way to get rid of it is to let water sit in a glass for a few minutes. Then put the water in a covered container and chill it in the refrigerator. Almost all household water filters can reduce or remove chlorine.
  • EARTHY/MUSTY - Sometimes algae are not controlled by the usual treatment process and naturally make substances that create an earthy or musty smell, but are not harmful in the small amounts found in drinking water. This happens more often in the warmer months when algae growth may increase in our surface water sources.
  • SULFUR - A sulfurous, rotten egg, or sewage-like odor or taste can be caused by bacteria growing in your water heater, or odors may simply be coming from your sink drain where bacteria can grow on hair, soap, food, or other trapped materials. Comparing hot and cold water and various faucets will help determine the source of the problem.

Call Water Division staff at 707-257-9521 to report any concerns with your water's taste and odor.

Show All Answers

1. Where does Napa's water come from?
2. Who is served by the City of Napa Water System?
3. What are the major components of the Water System?
4. How much water is used by City of Napa customers?
5. How do I establish water service?
6. How much does the water cost?
7. How can I pay my bill?
8. When do you read my meter? Can I read the meter myself?
9. Why do I need a backflow prevention device?
10. Will PG&E planned power outages affect my water service?
11. How do I report a leak?
12. If I have a leak, who is responsible for repairing it?
13. How do I get my water turned off so I can make repairs to my plumbing or irrigation?
14. How do I report a water quality concern?
15. Why does my water look dirty, have an odd color, or have particles in it?
16. Why does my water have a strange taste or odor?
17. Does the City add fluoride to the drinking water?
18. What is the water hardness?