Common Water Quality Issues, Problems and Solutions

Water quality issues in Maryland? We can help! Get accurate and effective water treatment recommendations by clicking on your water problem below!

Are you having problems with your water quality? Do you notice a water smell? Is your water discolored or brown when it comes out of the faucet? These issues and more can be indications that you have poor water quality and are in need of water treatments today.


Take a look at our water quality breakdown below and select the issue you are having with your water! You’ll be taken to a treatment page to help you learn all about the issue and how National Water Service can help you resolve it.

How do I know I have poor water quality?

how do you know if your water is dirtySome water issues are easily visible — like dirty, discolored water, or water that takes a while to clear up when you turn the faucet on. Almost everyone has had experience with smelly water or rotten egg odors emitting from their water at one point or another, too. 

Those aren’t the only tale-tell signs you have poor water quality, however. Water that is clear and odorless can be just as contaminated as dirty water, just with different issues that still pose risks to you and your family.

You may have dirty or contaminated water if you notice any of the following:

  • Itchy or dry skin after bathing
  • Soap residue left behind on dishes or in bathtubs
  • Stiff or hard laundry that won’t seem to soften up
  • Dry, dull hair
  • Bitter tasting coffee or tea
  • Metallic, salty, or sour tastes from your water

Yes, your poor water quality can affect your laundry, cleanliness, cooking, and how you feel after you bathe. Water quality isn’t just about looks or odors, it’s about overall health and wellness in your home. If you ever notice anything “off” about your water, you should get a water test from National Water Service to confirm the status of your water quality.

So what are the qualities of good water?

how can i tell if my water is clean and safeBecause contaminated water doesn’t show up only with odors, tastes, or discoloration, you may be wondering how you know if you have quality water in your home. We recommend always erring on the side of safety and getting a home water test annually to ensure your water is safe for you and your family.


There are other ways for you to inspect your water:


  • Is your water cloudy? Cloudy water may clear up after a few minutes or look mostly clear, but compare it to bottled water to confirm if your water is really as clear as you think it is


  • Inspect your surfaces after cleaning them! Clean, healthy water won’t leave residue behind on your dishes, countertops, or your hands. Not sure? Rinse your hands with bottled water and feel the difference.


  • Odors aren’t always strong or persistent. Sometimes there are high levels of chlorine in city water, which may cause an odor similar to bleach and should be checked out as soon as possible. Test your water’s odor by pouring some into a glass from the faucet. Leave the room or step outside, come back, swirl the water around, and sniff it. Smelly odors like eggs, bleach, or even a fish-like smell indicate poor water quality.


  • Do you taste water? You should. If you’re not drinking your water, you’re not tasting your water. Metallic tastes or other bitterness may be affecting your coffee, tea, or cooking without you noticing. Drink regular faucet water and pay attention to the taste (and get it tested if you notice an off taste).


  • Check your local news and water quality reports: some contaminants never affect your water in ways you can sense, so you need to stay up to date on local news and other water reports to know if your water really is safe in your neighborhood.

Is bottled water safer than tap water in Maryland?

is bottled water safer than tap waterIf you’re worried about your water quality, you may be debating buying bottled for your home vs. using the tap water. The truth is, you don’t know if your tap water is safe without first receiving a water test.

What most families don’t realize is that a water treatment system for their home can save them a ton of money on bottled water. In fact, the cost of bottled water for a family of four for one year is the same cost as a reverse osmosis system — which will treat all of your water and last for years.

National Water Service suggests checking your water for any signs of contaminations or ordering a water test. We’ll help you figure out what your water needs to be family safe.

What causes unsafe drinking water?

why is my water dirty

  • Over contamination or treatment at the city level
  • Eroding pipes or other water equipment in your home or at the city level
  • Pollution or chemical spill in your local area
  • High rains that flood sediments through soils into wells or water supplies
  • Radon may be present within the soil or water naturally
  • Water runoff into wells or water supplies from agricultural sites where chemicals are used