Blue water and copper corrosion

Copper pipes and fittings, commonly used for internal plumbing of buildings and households, can be affected by copper corrosion, which can result in the release of copper to the water. The occurrence of copper corrosion has been associated with water resting in pipes for a period of time, and can result in a metallic taste, blue or cloudy water and staining of fittings.

Do I have copper corrosion?

If you have blue or cloudy water coming from one or more of your cold taps, you may have copper corrosion of your internal plumbing. This may be more noticeable if there has been a prolonged time of low or no use. Copper corrosion can also result in a metallic or bitter taste, and a build-up of crystals or blue stains on basins and toilets.

What should I do if I suspect copper corrosion?

If you suspect that your internal plumbing is affected by copper corrosion, these steps may assist you;

  • Run the internal tap for approximately 1 minute to flush the system
  • Run the back external tap to flush through the water within the internal pipes
  • In some cases, you may need to consider contacting a licensed plumber to replace the affected pipe or fittings

What are the implications of copper corrosion?

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG, 2011) state that copper concentrations over 1 mg/L may stain fittings, whilst concentrations above 2 mg/L can cause ill effects in some people. Those more susceptible to copper may include infants and the elderly. As such, the ADWG have established that the level of copper in drinking water should be less than 2mg/L to avoid any health risks associated with the long-term consumption of high concentrations of copper.

Icon Water is committed to providing Canberra with high quality drinking water. Our extensive monitoring program ensures that water complies with the ACT Drinking Water Code of Practice and ADWG.

Icon Water do not recommend drinking water that appears, smells or tastes objectionable. If you have concerns about the quality of your water, please call Icon Water faults and emergencies on 02 6248 3111, option '1' (24hr).