Household water quality issues

There are a number of common problems experienced by customers. These are most often associated with how water smells, tastes or appears.

Common problems are listed below. Click and expand each section to learn more about each problem:

Orange or brown water

If your water is an orange/brown colour when you first run your tap but clears after a short period, you may have some corrosion issues inside your property. The orange/brown colour is indicating the pipe walls are corroding.

Corrosion can occur when the plumbing inside the property is old. Over time pipes can corrode, this is evident if original plumbing is cast iron or copper pipe. If cast iron and copper pipes are used together corrosion can occur much faster. In some instances, it can only take a small length of pipe to produce the discolouration.

If not resolved, a pipe burst or leak can occur. A plumber will be able to help solve the discolouration.

Dirty water

A change in flow conditions or a burst in the main close to your property can result in dirty water. If you receive dirty water please refrain from using a washing machine or dishwasher until the issue is resolved.

Generally a burst happens unexpectedly, however the maintenance team at Westernport Water is very good at fixing them. The best way to get the issue resolved in a timely manner is to report any dirty issues to our friendly customer service team.

You can do so on 1300 720 711 or email

Milky water

Full glass of tap water obscured by small particles. Concept for unhealthy water supply for people in developing countries.

Water can appear milky if air mixes with supply. The milky look is caused by small bubbles pressurised in the water. Aerated water has no risk to your health.

Milky water may occur in water mains if you live in an area with high water pressure (i.e. near a pumping station). Air can also be introduced into your household pipes in various ways; for example, a faulty inlet valve on a washing machine.

Westernport Water performs airscouring annually to maintain cleanliness within the distribution system.  During these times instances where you may notice air in the water will increase.  This will resolve within a few days once the airscouring is completed.  We will advise you when airscouring will be undertaken within your area.

If you experience milky water, fill a clean glass and observe the colouration for a minute or two. If the colour subsides then the issue is aeration.

If your water is permanently milky then please contact Westernport Water on 1300 720 711 or email

Chlorine taste and smell

Chlorine and chloramination disinfection is used by Westernport Water to ensure water is safe to drink and free from bacteria and virus.

The amount of chlorine in the water is regulated under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. The easiest way to remove the taste or smell of chlorine is to refrigerate it. Another method is to install a household filter.

If you are concerned with the amount of chlorine in your water supply please contact Westernport Water on 1300 720 711 or email

Earthy or musty taste or smell

From time to time, algal numbers in our reservoirs develop to the point that they make the water smell earthy or musty. We do our best to remove these odours in our treatment plant, however some people may still notice a faint taste or odour in their drinking water.

While an earthy or musty smell may be aesthetically displeasing the water is safe to consume.  

However, if you are concerned at any stage, please contact us, on 1300 720 711 or email

Metallic taste

A metallic taste in your tap water usually indicates high levels of iron and/or copper. Both can leach into your water from corroded pipes.

To fix this, the first step is to have your pipes inspected for corrosion by a plumber.

If you are still concerned about a metallic taste after inspection, please contact us on 1300 720 711 or email

Septic smell

Water with very low levels of dissolved oxygen will develop a septic/rotten egg odour but this should not happen in your drinking water. The most common cause of this type of problem is the drain.

Over time, organic matter such as hair, soap and food waste can accumulate on the walls of the drain. Bacteria can then grow on that organic matter. What you can smell is the gas produced by the bacteria.

You will be more likely to smell the rotten egg odour when water from the shower or kitchen tap runs over the drain.

If you have one of the problems listed above, the first step in solving the issue is finding the source.

You can find steps on how to do this by going to our Find the source of your water issue page

If you have one of the problems listed above, the first step in solving the issue is finding the source.

You can find steps on how to do this by going to our ‘Find the source of your water issue’ page by clicking here.