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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Cloudy Water

Drinking water delivered through the municipal system can sometimes look "milky" or "cloudy." This cloudiness often occurs when air becomes trapped in the water. While this may impact the water's appearance, it does not affect the water's safety and will not harm household plumbing systems.

Air can be introduced in many ways, including the groundwater pumping process, water pipeline maintenance, or the process of bringing cold groundwater to the warmer surface. Cloudy water is more common in summer months, when water providers augment supplies with groundwater wells.

Because water pipelines are pressurized, air remains trapped in the water until you open the faucet and release the pressure—similar to the effect created when you open a bottle of soda. Thousands of tiny air bubbles form, giving the water a slightly white appearance.

To test whether cloudy water is due to trapped air, fill a glass with tap water and set it on the counter. Observe the water for a minute or two. As the air dissipates, water should start to clear up.

A cloudy appearance to water does not reduce its quality. Technicians collect and analyze thousands of drinking water samples a year from throughout Southern Nevada to ensure that tap water meets or surpasses the standards of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.


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