Why is My Water Bubbly, Cloudy, or Discolored? What is Turbidity?

A little bubbly water may catch you by surprise, but don’t worry. We didn’t change your tap to champagne. Sometimes air can get trapped inside pipes and cause temporary bubbles in a glass of water. If you notice cloudy or discolored water, it may be mineral deposits.

Very fine sediment from mineral deposits settles out of the water and accumulates in the bottom of the pipes over several years. The mineral deposits in the pipes can be dislodged during sudden changes in the direction or flow of the water (i.e., water main break, hydrant use, etc.).

CLTWater notifies water billing customers of planned and unplanned water outages as soon as possible. If you rent, you can sign up to receive alerts at charlottewater.org. If you are notified of a water outage, please turn off dishwashers, washing machines, and automatic ice machines until water service is restored.

Once water service is restored, you shouldn’t experience bubbly, cloudy, or discolored water. If you do, please:

  • Run cold water for 10 minutes (preferably an outside spigot or bathtub first).
  • When water runs clear, run cold water through any faucets where discolored water is present.
  • If the water isn’t clear, run cold water for an additional 10 minutes and carefully unscrew faucet aerators to remove and clean.
  • If water is not clear, please call 311 or 704-336-7600 and say or select water emergency.

Turbidity is the measure of the cloudiness of the water and is a key water quality measurement taken at our treatment plants, fire hydrants, and sampling stations. Charlotte Water (CLTWater) tests water throughout Mecklenburg County daily.

Your home’s humidity will typically be less than one Nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU). A glass of water with a reading of five NTU is just noticeable to the average person. If you notice cloudy water, it is likely a higher NTU, and you should follow the steps above.