Discoloured water

Discolouration can range from a light, straw-yellow colour to a dark brown. You can find everything you need to know below from why this happening to steps on what you can do to clear the discolouration from your water.

Discoloured water



Occasionally, some customers contact us to report "tiny particles" or "bits" in their tap water, you can find out more information about this here.

If you are experiencing white, cloudy or a milky-coloured water, please click here to find out why this is happening and what you need to do. 

Lastly, if your water is blue, pink or green, please make sure you don't drink or use your water for cooking, you can click here for more information.

  • Why is this happening?

    Discolouration can range from a light, straw-yellow colour to dark brown. This can be caused by a number of things including:

    • Disturbance of settled deposits made up of naturally occurring metals and minerals in water

    • Corrosion of service pipes

    • Internal plumping issues

    So what are we doing to reduce the likelihood of discoloured water? 

    We have over 40,000 km of mains in the ground and supply water to approximately seven million people in the North West of England. In areas where there is a localised discoloration problem we carry out controlled flushing of the distribution system to reduce the build-up of deposits. However, flushing needs to be carried out carefully to avoid making the problem worse. These measures will continue to improve the quality of drinking water and minimise the risk of you receiving discoloured water.

    Planned works can also cause temporary discolouration to your water. To check if there are any planned works happening in your area, please click here.

  • Common household causes

    Some discolouration to your water can be caused by internal plumbing, this would be the cause if your neighbours water is not affected.

    If you think you have an issue with your internal plumbing, click here to find a Watersafe approved plumber. 

  • What to do

    While your tap water is discoloured, we advise you not to run the hot water tap, use dishwashers, washing machines or any other appliances which uses your hot water supply. You can try clearing the discolouration from your water by following the steps below:

    • Allow the first incoming cold water tap (usually in the kitchen) to run at a trickle until it clears – why not collect this water and use it to water your plants? 

    • Some discolouration can clear quickly (within minutes), but this can take longer depending on the cause.  If the discolouration does not clear, please check with your neighbours to determine if their water is also discoloured.

    • If your neighbours are not affected, this is most likely an issue with your internal pipework, you can find a Watersafe approved plumber here.

    • If your neighbours are affected, the issue is most likely due to a burst pipe or planned works in your area. You can check to see if we're aware of an incident in your area. However, if your area is not showing, please give us a call on 0345 672 3723. 

    We also have an easy-to-read guide which explains how you can keep your tap water in tip-top condition (PDF 2,765 KB opens in a new window)