Why is this town's water supply YELLOW?

A small town in Kansas that shall remain nameless, has yellow water! I always make a stop at one of the gas stations to use the restroom. At first I was confused, every toilet has piss in it! I was like ewww these people here are NASTY! Then I started noticing there was never any tp in the toilet and the shade of yellow was always the same, so it may not be urine. Yesterday I washed my hands, and the piping was kind of clogged, therefore water started accumulating in the sink. Guess what, it was yellow!

So it seems that this town’s water supply is yellow. What is causing this?

Sulfur is yellow, isn’t it?

ETA: Never mind, apparently it is also insoluble in water.

Iron, perhaps? Organic iron compounds, in particular, can cause yellow water, and iron oxide particles can cause cloudy rust-colored water. See here, for example.

Maybe not totally insoluble, I’ve been in a town where the water had a definite sulfur taste and smell to it. However, it did not have a yellow color.

colors can vary with light source and reflective surfaces. dilute colors can appear a bit different.

iron can form a number of different colors.

And, by the way, iron is pretty harmless in drinking water, health-wise. So you’re not hurting yourself by guzzling the yellow stuff. At least that yellow stuff.

Nor are you hurting yourself by peeing into it. :smiley:

According to this, though, rust-colored water can be associated with having lead in your drinking water. Lead in drinking water is definitely not harmless.

Probably sulfur dioxide (a soluble, colorless, smelly gas), or perhaps some other sulfur compound. Elemental sulfur is a yellow solid in its commonest form, but not soluble in water. Sulfur compounds are often colorless and smelly. What people call a sulfur smell/taste is typically that of SO2. (I am not sure, but probably the element oxidizes slowly in air giving it a faint smell and taste of the dioxide gas.)


I agree that the yellow tap water is probably that way because of iron salts in it. One day (and it happened to be Christmas, and my parents were over) my taps suddenly started producing yellow-brownish water. We managed to get through to the water company and they put it down to repairs they were doing on the pipes somewhere, that had knocked loose some rust, and they assured us it was quite safe to drink. It was back to normal in a day or two. This town’s water, likewise, may not always be yellow. It might just have been a bad day.

Why don’t you just ask someone who lives there? I wager it’s probably a big issue, local-politics-wise, and probably anybody you find will have an opinion.

Some wells have high levels of tannins, organic material from soil and wood that can cause water to appear yellow.

But sulfates are very water soluble, but they are not yellow. However, sulfate-reducing bacteria in a well or water heater can consume the sulfates and release hydrogen sulfide gas, which gives water a “rotten egg” smell.

Why is this town’s water supply YELLOW?

They didn’t watch out where the huskies go.

Have you ever seen water from anywhere else in this town, or are you basing your assumption on this single data point?

Could be the gas station has bad pipes.

I was thinking the same thing.

My hometown has periodically had discoloured water after excessively heavy rainfall washed large quantities of mud into the reservoir. It’s only a temporary effect, lasting weeks at the most. The water is treated but apparently there is a point when you just can’t get it any clearer - and a town-wide spate of leaky pipes in houses 5-50+ years old is attributed to the water works over dosing the water after floods one year (in local rumour anyway).

The more pertinent question is: what color is the snow?

Drinking yellow water may be fine but don’t you eat that yellow snow. :eek:

Would they use iodine to treat the water?