Frequent Questions

What can cause tap water to smell like bleach?

Chlorine used for disinfection of drinking water may produce a bleach odor in drinking water.  It may also impart a chlorine bleach taste to the water.  EPA has not set a standard for these aesthetic effects.  However, EPA has set a maximum residual disinfectant level of 4 mg/L for chlorine that is appropriate for preventing physiological health effects, such as eye and nose irritation and stomach discomfort (63 FR 69390, 69411; December 16, 1998). 

To help determine the cause(s) of aesthetic or cosmetic effects from your drinking water, contact your local drinking water system.  Additional guidance for household well owners is available at http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/well/index.cfm.  General information on nuisance chemicals is available at http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/secondarystandards.cfm .

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