Problems & Solutions

Common Problem Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Problems & Solutions

If you need more assistance, check out our Problem & Solutions Center at our Water Center website for an interactive guide to assist you with your water problem.


Stains / Buildup / Appliance Failure

Symptom: Soap scum, bathtub ring, toilet ring, dull laundry, dry or itchy skin, cloudy glassware, mineral deposits, early appliance failure, low sudsing, high soap

Cause: Hardness causing minerals

Treatment: Water Softener or a Salt Free Softener

Red, Brown, Orange Stains / Discoloration

Symptom: Reddish-brown or orange stains, red or brown tint to water, pink or red slime, brown or rusty sediment

Cause: Presence of ferric or ferrous iron, possible iron bacteria

Treatment: Low amounts of iron removed by a Sediment Filter, higher amounts by a Birm Filter and possible Water Softener

Blue-Green Stains / Metallic Taste

Symptom:Blue-green stains in sinks and showers, metallic taste

Cause: Acidity in water dissolving copper and/or brass from plumbing

Treatment: Acid Neutralizer using calcium or a Chemical Feed Pump using soda ash

Black / Gray Stains

Symptom: Black or gray stains in fixtures or laundry

Cause: High levels of manganese

Treatment: Low levels of manganese are treated with a Water Softener, higher levels are treated with a Birm Filter and Water Softener


Symptom: Cloudiness in water that doesn’t seem to clear or settle

Cause: Turbidity- suspended particles in water that are too light to sink

Treatment: Sediment Filtration and Microfiltration recommend a more detailed water analysis

Stains / Taste

Symptom: Pitted and tarnished silverware, salty taste

Cause: High chloride levels

Treatment: Reverse Osmosis for point of use

Rotten Egg Odor

Symptom: Rotten Egg Odor

Cause: Contamination by hydrogen sulfide gas (occurs naturally in aquifers)

Treatment: Easily removed by a Backwashing Filter (carbon, sediment, neutralizer) in conjunction with an aeration device

Earthy Musty Smell

Symptom: Earthy musty smell

Cause: Caused by algae products in water

Treatment: Wholehouse Carbon Filtration or Point of Use Carbon for single tap


Symptom: Nitrates

Cause: Overfertilization of farm land with surface run-off

Treatment: Reverse Osmosis system or Point of Use Nitrate or Wholehouse Nitrate


Stomach Problems

Symptom: Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting

Cause: Bacteria, pathogens in water

Treatment: Ultraviolet Light water treatment


Chlorine Taste & Odor

Symptom: Chlorine taste and odor

Cause: Municipal water supplies method of sanitizing the water supply

Treatment: Wholehouse Carbon Filtration to treat the entire home (bathing and drinking) Reverse Osmosis or Point of Use Carbon for single tap treatment


Gas or Oil Smell / Taste

Symptom: Gas or Oil Petroleum products including MTBE

Cause: Caused by underground tank leakage

Treatment: Wholehouse Carbon Filtration using coconut shell carbon- some counties require Ultra Violet Light in the water flow after carbon tanks



Turbidity (fine particles) and sediment (coarse particles) may be caused by sand, scale, rust, organic matter, or clay. In addition to an objectionable, cloudy appearance, these substances may cause plugged piping or fouled water treatment equipment. Turbidity does not settle out readily, but remains suspended for several hours. It is normally present in pond, lake, or river water supplies. Turbidity levels should be less than 5 NTUs (turbidity units) for clear, acceptable water. Sediment/turbidity filters are available to handle such problems and bring water into usable ranges. Ordinary filtration does not generally remove turbidity, but by obtaining an individual water analysis, the best method of treatment may be determined.TURBIDITY AND SEDIMENT

Sediment, particles which settle to the bottom of a container within a few minutes, can be removed with an agraclear or sand type filter. When sand is determined to be present in water, a sand type filter should be used.

Taste and Odor

Tastes and odors are generally considered as one and the same problem, except for taste caused by mineral salts. For example, water with high chloride content will have a salty taste but may be odorless. A quality water supply should contain no trace of objectionable taste or odor.

There are a variety of tastes and odors that may exist in a water supply. Common examples include chlorine odor, musty or moldy taste or odor, oil or gas odor, and rotten egg odor. Each characteristic indicates certain distinct problems and treatments. Tastes and odors, especially if caused by dissolved gases or other volatile matter are best identified at the source since they are often destroyed by oxidation.

Chlorine, musty or moldy tastes and odors, and oil or gas odors are commonly treated by carbon filtration. Rotten egg odor is caused by dissolved hydrogen sulfide gas. Hydrogen sulfide is not only unpleasant to smell, but is corrosive to most metals and tarnishes silver readily. Hydrogen sulfide levels of up to 2 ppm can be removed by an oxidizing type sulphur filter. Levels in excess of 2 ppm are treated by oxidation.

Atlantic Blue retail store is located in Carroll County Maryland, convenient to Finksburg, Westminster MD, Taneytown, Hampstead, Manchester, Sykesville and Eldersburg.