Why Is Your Water Coming Out Brown?

Your tap water may appear brown due to minerals, sediment, rust build-up in the main pipes, water pressure fluctuations, or other disturbances.

Water-borne pathogens should not present a health risk and should dissipate over time. Contact your water supplier immediately to alert them, and request that they flush out the area with a fire hydrant.

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Rust in water pipes is one of the primary culprits behind brown water, as old pipes allow rust or iron particles to flake off and mix with drinking water. This can happen both at its source and when traveling through your house’s pipes. While most water supply agencies try to filter these contaminants before reaching homes, technical difficulties or flooding may cause them to get through and pollute your supply system.

If the rusty water is only coming from one faucet in your home, start by asking neighbors about similar issues before calling in a plumber to flush out and replace your piping as necessary. 

While this option might cost more than water filters alone, it often offers better long-term results as its purpose is to maintain safe drinking water quality; typically, any harmful or discolored waters should clear themselves quickly once there’s a pressure change in your mains system.


Sometimes, dirt or sediment enters your water source through pipes running throughout your house, creating murky brown or orange water coloration. If this is the case in your household, have a plumber examine the pipelines to see if they require flushing or repair services.

As well as the natural settling of dirt, sediment can enter your water from nearby construction projects and fire hydrants. When water flows more freely during these activities, it can stir up previously undetected sediment particles that hadn’t affected it at all.

Your well water may contain naturally occurring substances called tannins that give it an opaque or murky hue, often due to decayed organic material like leaves or peaty soil, giving your drinking water a bad taste or smell. The best way to address these is through conducting a well water test. 


If your well water is turning brown, the culprit could lie with its piping system. Without regular flushes to clear out this filthy pipework, discolored water may build up, and discoloration may occur; this can also occur if used as a drinking water source.

Check with neighbors to see if they’re experiencing similar issues, as it could be something within your pipes. If everyone seems to be experiencing problems, call a professional to diagnose and address them as soon as possible.

Water Main Issues

Brown water can often be caused by sediment build-up in city pipes. This usually happens when sudden spikes of water pressure dislodge sediment from within them – for instance, after a water main break or significant service demand surge.

Problems associated with leaky drains typically don’t present serious risks and should clear up within several hours. If this doesn’t occur, call in a licensed plumber for inspection and service as soon as possible.

Depending on where the brown water is found in your home, it could be caused by rust leaching from older galvanized iron pipes, but if all rooms of your house experience it, this could indicate that something more sinister is occurring with city pipes.