Why does my tap water appear milky or cloudy in color?

Milky white water, also commonly described as cloudy, hazy, soapy, or foamy, is almost always caused by air in the water. One of the many properties of water is its ability to dissolve gases. Sometimes the air comes out of the water in the form of many tiny bubbles which gives water a milky white appearance. To see if the white color in the water is due to air, fill a clear glass with water and set it on the counter. Observe the glass of water for 2 or 3 minutes. If the white color is due to air, the water will begin to clear at the bottom of the glass first, then gradually to the top. This is a natural phenomenon and is completely normal - the water is safe to use. This can happen in the springtime when the weather begins to warm, anytime there is a significant heat wave, or whenever the water has been turned off for repairs. Cold water holds more dissolved air than warm water. In the spring, the water supply in our reservoirs is cold and contains a relatively high level of dissolved air. As the water moves through the water mains in the streets and the pipes in your house, it begins to warm and lose some of its ability to keep the air dissolved. However, because the water is under pressure in the pipes, the air remains in the water. When you relieve the pressure by opening the faucet and filling your glass with water, the air is free to escape from the water, giving it a milky appearance for a few minutes. This same set of circumstances can cause your hot water to be cloudy.

Milky white water can also form after the Water Utility has worked on a water main or you have had work done on your plumbing. When the water is shut off, air can get in the water main or your pipes. When the water pressure is restored, some of that air dissolves into the water. When you again relieve the pressure by opening the faucet, the air is free to escape from the water, thus giving it a milky white appearance for a few minutes. This phenomenon will usually last from several days to several weeks, depending on many different factors.