FYI: Why does my drinking water look cloudy?

Some customers in the Bonney Lake water service area may notice that their drinking water, at times, comes out of the tap looking cloudy or milky. If left to sit for a minute you may also see that the milky color goes away.

The reason the color goes away is because the milky color is actually not a color at all but rather it is tiny air bubbles in the water!

The reason that it clears up so fast is because, like any air bubble, the air rises to the top of the glass and dissipates in the air above. You can see this phenomena in the image below.

There are several reasons why this can occur, including a change in the water temperature from the source to your tap (cold water holds more air in solution than warm water), a change in the water pressure from the pressurized water mains to your tap (water under pressure holds more air in solution than water at normal atmospheric pressure), or a broken water main (air can be pulled into the water through cracks in water mains).

In this particular instance, City staff has verified that there are not any broken water mains contributing to the additional air in the water. Instead, the air bubbles are coming from the well source the water is drawn from.

The most important thing to remember is that it is completely harmless. If the bubbles create an aesthetic concern for you, fill a pitcher with water and place it in your refrigerator. Let it sit for a few minutes and when you return, the water should be all clear.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to your drinking water, please contact Dave Cihak, Bonney Lake Assistant Superintendent of Public Works-Water at 253-447-4312.

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