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How Is Water Quality Affected By Rusty Pipes in Your Estates?


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Encountered discoloured water in your homes before?

Perhaps its time to go on a hunt, if you haven’t, for the unpleasant hidden surprises that you need to take note of in your name - like your rusty water pipes. 

Rusty or corrosive pipes can cause water to be discoloured, have a pungent odour or a funny taste. Edgeprop identifies why older estates having rusty pipes is due to being made of less-corrosion resistant materials - ductile iron and cast iron. Despite the use of hydrated lime to neutralise acidity in water, if the pipes themselves have less resistance against acidic water, the protective layer created during precipitation (calcium carbonate) may still not provide enough protection. Therefore, this results in water discolouration due to layers of rust infusing into your water supply.

Water discolouration could also occur as mineral sediments build up over time, and slowly clogs up your pipes, causing lowered water pressure. This sedimentation build-up combined with rusty pipes in your old estate, definitely affects your water quality, as seen in discoloured water containing impurities - like metals.

Does It Affect Our Health?

Discoloured water is typically safe for consumption and application, however, there are have been concerns on the content in such water - is there heavy metals present and, how does it affect us?

A possible metal impurity could be lead or zinc contaminated the water. For example, if there is long-term consumption of lead, could result in lead poisoning. Symptoms include fatigue, headaches, insomnia, constipation, abdominal pain and more. If you ever have this concern despite PUB’s reassurance the best solution is to install water filters for consumption and taps or shower filters when showering - there’s no harm in an extra safety net! Another solution is to simply identify the cause of discoloured water or attempt to clear it. 

PUB, however, has announced that there is no presence of lead in Singapore’s water supply, despite this reassurance, there might still be some concerns when encountering discoloured water or rusty brown water. 

Need Some Expert Advice?

According to PUB, despite water discolouration, it is still safe for consumption and application. 

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Here is some advice from PUB when encountering discoloured water:

Flush Out Discolouration

It is imperative to let the water run until it has become clear and, there is no more red or brown discolouration. This is the first important step that you should always try to counter this issue!

Call For Assistance

If your water remains discoloured for about 15 minutes, the next best option is to simply call for the PUB’s assistance. They will help investigate the issues and determine the cause, however, it is still important for you to find out what the source.

Identify The Source

It’s essential to also confirm the source of the discolouration. Is it from your pipes or from your hot water appliances? 

As all things slowly change over time, pipes and appliances in old estates are no different. It is vital to maintain your water pipes and regularly check them out, especially if you encounter signs of corrosion or persisting discoloured water. Even if it can be safe for use, long-term exposure to the contents within discoloured water can pose issues to your health, so make sure to always be on the lookout!