Musicians and songwriters can have exciting lives, but odd events aren’t limited to their careers. We are just like regular folks. Recently, however, I became a panicky homeowner. When I turned on the faucet to get water to make pasta, it came out brown. I was completely grossed out, almost as much as the day my brother put a live snail on my dinner plate when I was ten. You can’t imagine my reaction. The memory is etched in my brain. I always think back to that time when I am freaked out. It is a kind of benchmark of awfulness against which I measure everything else. There aren’t many givens in this life, but I do expect clean water living in the western world. A quick call to my landlord revealed the cause of the polluted liquid. A water main had broken nearby. He said I should expect normal flow in a day or two. This wasn’t good enough for me. I had to wait to see it with my own eyes before giving up another remedy. The first thought was to buy a ton of bottled water with which I could cook my meals. I would have to forego showers and baths. This is not so drastic since I belong to a gym. Off I go.
Brown water is loaded with dirt and assorted pipe silt, based on what I read at Home Water Health. It can contain toxins and chemicals so you don’t want to even touch it. You will want to clean out your sink when things get back to normal. I wouldn’t boil it like they do in third world countries. It is not something you encounter much in the city. If you have galvanized pipes, you might expect it to happen. I worry about deadly diseases from contamination. Water is life itself and it is emotionally disturbing when you don’t have crystal clear purity.
Further research told me that iron and manganese can be in brown water. They are found in the soil and can make their way into a broken water line. Your pipes can also be rusty as in very old homes. They should have been changed long ago. Pressure inside such a pipe can loosen the rust, which then pollutes the flowing water. If you have galvanized pipes, some of the coating peels off inside, exposing the iron beneath. Get it? Or is this more than you want to know? The real questions is the harm caused by brown water. Experts say small amounts of iron and manganese are normal and they aren’t going to kill you. However, I am not going to take any chances. I know that rusty water is a breeding ground for toxic bacteria. Plus, you would have to subject yourself to a metallic taste if you wanted to test it. It can also smell. It would even stain your laundry or leave a residue in your freshly washed hair. If you are concerned, I would change to copper pipes.