Common Drinking Water Issues

Our state of the art water treatment processes for the District removes harmful microorganisms and substances. We continuously monitor this process by taking samples at different points in the water distribution system and at reservoir sites.

Dissolved Metals

Some plumbing fittings have the potential to allow minute traces of metals to accumulate in water that has been standing in the fittings for several hours.

Although the health risk is small, the Ministry of Health recommends that you flush a mugful of water from your drinking water tap each morning before use to remove any metals that may have dissolved from plumbing fittings.

The Council recommends this simple precaution for all households, including those on public and private water supplies.

Cloudy Appearance

When tap water appears cloudy or milky, it’s usually because of fine air bubbles dissolved in the water. This can happen when cold water becomes warmer. It may also occur when maintenance work has been done on the water main close to your property, resulting in trapped air in the piping network. Air bubbles will simply dissolve if you leave your glass of water to stand for five minutes.


The Manawatū District’s water treatment plants use chlorine to destroy harmful microorganisms. The presence of residual chlorine is necessary to ensure water is safe to drink at the farthest point in the system. A chlorine smell can be generated from water coming out from the tap, or as a result of chlorine reacting with organisms in the water system. If you are sensitive to chlorine, keep a jug of fresh, cold tap water in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking, or use carefully maintained carbon filters.


You may smell sulphur when using bathroom faucets. This is most often caused by decaying hair, dirt or debris caught in the drain, which releases an odour when the tap is run. Fill a glass with cold water and take it to another room. If the water is odourless, your drains are causing the odour. To correct this problem, pour a small amount of bleach down the drain. Flush the drain with cold water a few minutes later.

Water Discolouration

If you're experiencing discoloured water, a cold tap should be run for several minutes until the water clears. Laundry washing should be delayed until the water runs clear at the tap. Try to avoid using your hot water as any discolouration may be introduced into your cylinder. Should this occur, it is recommended a load of dark clothes be washed, as lighter coloured clothing may become stained.

In some cases, a slight discolouration may occur for a few hours after maintenance work is carried out. While such discolouration affects the appearance of tap-water, the water will be safe to drink at all times. Other effects may include a temporary drop in water pressure and a more pronounced chlorine taste during the flushing process. If water pressure remains low, check your tap or mixer screens for trapped particles.

Anyone experiencing continuing issues with water quality please contact us here at Council.