Brown Tap Water After Heavy Rain; Causes and Solutions

Brown tap water after heavy rain is a common issue that homeowners may encounter. This phenomenon is not only unsightly but also raises concerns about potential contamination.

In this article, we will explore the causes of brown tap water, discuss potential issues, and provide actionable steps to address the problem effectively.

Causes of Brown Tap Water

Before adopting any course of action, it is necessary to understand the causes behind the brown water coming from the tab after the rainfall. The possible causes, as per observation, are;

Sediment and Rust

Brown water is often the result of discoloration caused by iron sediment present in the water mains. When heavy rain occurs, the increased water flow can disturb these sediments and cause them to mix with the water supply.

Rust or sediment can also accumulate in the pipes when the water is not in use for an extended period. When the water is turned on after a period of stagnation, temporary discolouration may occur due to the disturbance of these deposits.


Brown tap water can be an alarming sign of contamination. It is essential to recognize that discoloured water may indicate the presence of harmful substances, such as bacteria, chemicals, or pollutants. If you notice brown tap water, it is crucial to refrain from drinking it immediately and take prompt action to get it tested.

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Potential Issues and Solutions

Potential Issues and solutions related to brown tap water after heavy rain:

Plumbing and Water Heater

Rusty plumbing or a corroded water heater within your home can contribute to brown tap water. Over time, pipes and water heaters can develop rust, which then discolors the water flowing through them.

To address this issue, it is recommended to inspect your plumbing system and water heater for signs of rust or corrosion. If you notice any significant rusting or deterioration, consider contacting a professional plumber to evaluate and repair or replace the affected components.

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Rainwater Runoff Contamination

Rainwater runoff can potentially leak into wells and contaminate the water supply. This contamination can lead to discoloured tap water.

To mitigate this problem, homeowners should have their wells and septic systems checked for any issues. A professional inspection can identify potential sources of contamination and provide appropriate solutions to safeguard the water supply.

Other Factors

Several other factors can contribute to brown tap water, including the age of the home and the type of pipes used. Older homes may have pipes that are more susceptible to corrosion and sediment buildup.

If you suspect these factors might be contributing to the issue, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. A qualified plumber can assess the situation, identify underlying problems, and recommend suitable remedies.

Solutions for Brown Tap Water

So what are the solutions that we can adopt after we face the issue of brown tap water after heavy rain. These include:

Flushing the Water System:

When brown tap water occurs, it is recommended to flush the water system by running cold water for several minutes until the water runs clear. This helps remove any sediment or particles that may have accumulated in the pipes.

Flushing the system helps clear out any accumulated sediment or rust in the pipes. If the water becomes clear after flushing, it indicates that the issue was temporary and likely caused by disturbances in the water supply.

Use of Water Filters:

Installing water filters, such as activated carbon filters or reverse osmosis systems, can effectively remove sediments, contaminants, and discoloration from tap water. It is crucial to choose filters appropriate for the specific contaminants present in the water supply.

Water Testing

To ensure the safety of your water supply, it is crucial to get the water tested after experiencing brown tap water. Testing will help identify any contaminants that may be present.

It is important to find a reputable water testing service to obtain accurate results. Local health departments or certified laboratories can provide guidance and recommend reliable testing options.

Preventive Measures

Prevention is always the best mean to encounter these issues. Some of the preventive measures we can adopt based on our experience are;

Proper Stormwater Management:

Efficient stormwater management systems can help reduce the amount of sediment and debris runoff into water sources. Strategies such as rain gardens, permeable pavements, and detention basins can mitigate the impact of heavy rain on water quality.

Routine Inspections and Repairs:

Water authorities and utility companies should conduct routine inspections of the water distribution systems to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. This proactive approach can minimize the risk of brown tap water occurrences and ensure a reliable supply of clean water.

Education and Awareness Campaigns:

Educating the public about the causes of brown tap water and providing guidance on preventive measures can foster a sense of responsibility and empower individuals to take action. Awareness campaigns can include tips for homeowners, information on water conservation, and guidance on reporting water quality issues to the relevant authorities.

Importance of Collaboration

Addressing the issue of brown tap water requires collaboration among water authorities, utility companies, and the community. By working together, they can share knowledge, pool resources, and implement comprehensive solutions. Engaging residents through community outreach programs and soliciting their feedback can also contribute to more effective problem-solving.


Brown tap water after heavy rain, by understanding the causes and potential issues associated with brown tap water, you can take appropriate action. Flushing the system and getting the water tested are crucial steps in resolving the problem. If you encounter persistent issues or suspect underlying plumbing or contamination problems, it is advisable to seek professional help.


Why is my tap water brown after a storm?

Tap water can turn brown after a storm due to the disturbance of sediment and particles in the water mains, which can cause discoloration.

Is it safe to use brown tap water?

It is generally not recommended to use brown tap water as it may contain sediment, particles, or other contaminants that can be harmful to your health.

What happens when tap water is brown?

When tap water is brown, it is an indication that there is some sort of contamination in the water. The discoloration is often caused by sediment, rust, or other particles that have entered the water mains.

How do you fix brown tap water?

The best way to fix brown tap water is to flush your pipes by running cold water for a few minutes until the water runs clear. If the problem persists, you should contact your water provide

How long does it take for brown water to clear?

The length of time it takes for brown water to clear depends on the cause of the discoloration. In most cases, running cold water for a few minutes will clear the water, but if the problem is more severe, it may take several hours or even days for the water to clear.

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