Taste & smell

You may occasionally become aware of the taste or smell of your drinking water

3.5 Contacts per 10,000 people

Number of times water companies were contacted by customers about the taste or smell of their water.

Source: Drinking Water Inspectorate; England and Wales, Jan 2016 - Dec 2016

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Why might performance vary?

Drinking water in England and Wales is of a very high quality but you may occasionally notice a different taste or smell. This could be due to:

  • the use of chlorine to maintain good hygiene in the pipe network
  • seasonal water quality effects creating a musty smell or earthy taste
  • a change in where your water comes from or how it is treated
  • your plumbing, which for various reasons can cause a range of tastes including metallic, salt, rubbery or earthy tastes.

Number of times companies were contacted by customers about their water's taste / smell (per 10,000 people supplied)

The graph shows how many times customers contacted their water companies about the taste or smell of their tap water in the latest year. So that companies with different numbers of customers can be compared, the graphs show the number of contacts per 10,000 people supplied.

      Number of times companies were contacted by customers about their water's taste / smell (per 10,000 people supplied)

      Source: Drinking Water Inspectorate

      Number of times companies were contacted by customers about their water's taste / smell (per 10,000 people supplied)

      The graph shows how many times customers contacted their water companies about the taste or smell of their tap water in the last three years. So that companies with different numbers of customers can be compared, the graphs show the number of contacts per 10,000 people.

          Number of times companies were contacted by customers about their water's taste / smell (per 10,000 people supplied)

          Source: Drinking Water Inspectorate

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          Has this information helped you understand how companies compare on the taste and smell of drinking water?

          Tell us more
          • Drinking water in England and Wales is of a very high quality but you may occasionally become aware of a different taste or smell. This could be due to:

            • the use of chlorine to maintain good hygiene in the pipe network
            • seasonal water quality effects creating a musty smell or earthy taste
            • a change in where your water comes from or how it is treated
            • your plumbing, which for various reasons can cause a range of tastes including metallic, salt, rubbery or earthy tastes.

            A consumer advice leaflet on www.DWI.gov.uk has more information about taste and smell.

          Has your water developed an unusual taste or smell?

          Please contact your local water company. Don’t know who your supplier is? Find out here

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