Why is My Water Brown After a Rainstorm?

Has it rained for days, and is your yard flooded? When you turn on the faucet in your home, does brown water come out? If so, you must take it seriously and not dismiss it as simply cloudy water caused by rain.

There are lots of reasons why your water turns brown all of a sudden. These include the type and condition of the well, ground infiltration, iron or manganese contamination of the water, a drop in the water level, and the failure of the well. Brown water after a rainstorm can signal contamination even if you cannot taste the bacterial infection. When water from the surface seeps into your well through the wellhead, you’re most likely to experience this problem. You are pumping groundwater that has drained from the ground into your well instead of clean groundwater.
In the worst-case scenario, a leaky septic system near your well could be the source of the brown color.

Do Not Drink The Brown Water

Even if the discoloration disappears within a couple of days, this is not something that should be forgotten. The discoloration is usually an indicator of a bigger problem: contamination. Instantly stop drinking the water and have it tested while it is discolored. The health of you and your family is the most important and you should avoid drinking water that could make you sick. The best solution is to have your water tested since most contaminants cannot be tasted.

Test Your Water

Since there are numerous potential causes of brown water, it’s best to remove the worst-case scenario first, then work backward. Make sure to test your water as well. A thorough water analysis will reveal the cause and complexity of your issue and help you find solutions.
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Make sure to test your water for the following:

  • iron concentration
  • iron bacteria
  • pH
  • hardness
  • manganese concentration
  • dissolved solids
  • total coliform
  • fecal coliform
  • e-coli bacteria


Do a Water Well Test

You can learn a lot about the source of discolored water by doing a water test. If you tested your water and fixed all the problems, but you still notice brown water coming out of your faucet after a rain, it may be the result of surface water leaking into your well. If it’s been raining heavily, there’s good chance water is seeping into your well from the surface. But it’s unusual for a well with a properly installed cap to be affected by excessive rain.

Rain can only enter the casing if the grouting is broken or the well cover is not completely sealed. If rainwater reaches a well, microorganisms can enter as well. If you live near a farm or leaking septic system, that will make things even worse. The test results will allow you to address the real problem and invest in effective solutions.

Can I Take a Shower in Brown Water?

It is acceptable to use brown water for shower purposes but it is not a pleasant experience. If you have sensitive skin, the brown water’s minerals can trigger allergies and rashes.

Does Brown Water Smell Bad?

Brown water can have an unpleasant smell. Typically, you will sense a musty or earthy smell in the water. This is a frequent problem, especially in regions with low groundwater levels. Note that surface water is less clean than groundwater. Surface water contains organic materials and minerals that cause it to become brown.

Rusty Pipes and Plumbing Fixtures

Rust is a common reason why well water gets brown. Rust can accumulate on pipes and plumbing fixtures. If brown or reddish water runs from several faucets in your home, but water from other faucets remains clear, rusty pipes may be the cause.

Replace Your Rusty Pipes

By replacing rusty pipes in your home, you can eliminate brown water. If rusty pipes cause the problem, this is the best solution. On the other hand, this is generally a difficult task that should only be handled by skilled plumbers. Also, it might be costly depending on the pipes that need to be replaced and the amount of effort needed.

Reverse Osmosis System

This approach is the ideal solution if you are searching for a very effective contamination treatment that can remove nearly all the organic material from contaminated water. This system will ensure that your home is supplied with clean and clear water.

Is There Anything Else I Need To Know?

Run cold water from the faucet for approximately 20 minutes. If the water becomes clear, there is no reason for additional concern.

You will have to use a water filtration system and/or a water softener if the water is clear but still contains brown bits. These systems actively eliminate iron from the water supply.

If your water remains brown, ask your neighbors if they are experiencing the same problem. If so, the fault is probably with the city’s water system. Call the municipality to request that the city’s utility provider inspect and flush the pipes on their end.

Determine whether the brown water comes from hot or cold water. If only the hot water is brown, then your water heater has to be flushed out. If brown water is only coming from the hot faucet, you should have your water heater tested by a licensed plumber.



Finally, you’ve reached the end of our article on why well water suddenly becomes brown. If your water is discolored, you should do a water test to determine what is causing the problem. We hope this information will help you decide on the best course of action for the problem you’re dealing with.