Cloudy Water

Uncolored cloudy water

Cloudy water is usually caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to gas bubbles in carbonated beverages. Usually, this cloudiness occurs in the winter, when the drinking water is cold.

If you notice cloudy water, fill a clean, clear glass with water from the cold tap and let it sit on the counter. If the water starts to clear at the bottom of the glass first, it is caused by air in the lines. This is probably due to air bubbles -- either from dissolved oxygen being released or trapped air in the plumbing. In our region, this can be common, since our water comes from the mountains highly saturated with oxygen, and our ozone treatment process adds excess oxygen to the water.

If you are also noticing sputtering from the faucet -- and have had recent plumbing work -- it is probably the air trapped when the water refilled the empty plumbing. This should clear as the water is used.

If others in the neighborhood have a similar problem, especially where SPU has been working on the main, the problem may be the result of air trapped in a water main or from fine silt which has been stirred up. If it is silt, it should settle out with time, as mentioned in the “Discolored Water” section. However, if the problem appears to be from air trapped in the main, please contact SPU Customer Service at (206) 684-3000.

Foaming/cloudy water

Foaming water, especially from kitchen sinks, can be caused by dish detergent being splashed on the faucet. If your water is foaming, shake up a glass of water to form a layer of bubbles. Does the layer last when you stop shaking? Does it smell like soap? Is this coming from more than one tap? If only one tap is affected (usually the kitchen faucet with an aerator), dish washing detergent may have been splashed onto the faucet. This can be rinsed off and the problem should clear up.

If this problem occurs at all of your faucets, call the Customer Service Center. Save some of the water to show to the inspector, and refrain from drinking or cooking with the water until it is checked out.