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Why does my water taste like salt?


If you have ever drank a glass of water that had a salty aftertaste it could be due to a presence of chloride ions and/or sulfates in your home or office water supply. With over 316 contaminants found in water supplies throughout the U.S., it’s important to determine why your water has a strange taste so you can correct the problem and enjoy great-tasting water.

Quick Facts

  • If your tap water has a salty aftertaste, it is likely caused by either a high concentration of chloride ions and/or sulfates in your water supply. This is due to industrial waste, irrigation drainage or seawater entering local reservoirs.
  • Although in most instances your water will be safe to drink, it is important to get your water tested as contaminants can cause damage to pipes in your home or office, as well
  • In addition to chloride and sulfates, which cause water to have a salty taste, there are over 316 different contaminants detected in water supplies throughout the U.S.
  • Get your water tested by your local Water Testing Lab, which you can find here.
  • If your water comes from a private source, such as a well, you may need to take additional steps, which can be found here.

What Causes The Taste?

There are several possible reasons why your water may taste like salt. The most likely cause may be a high concentration of chloride ions in your water source. Some of the common causes of high chloride levels in your water may be due to industrial waste or irrigation drainage. Those who live in coastal areas may experience this problem due to seawater entering a local water supply. In addition to producing a salty taste, chloride ions can corrode pipes and discolor stainless steel sinks.

Another possible cause behind your water’s salty taste is a high concentration of sulfates. Sulfates such as magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate may cause water to taste of saline. These sulfates may occur naturally in some types of soil and rocks. As groundwater or rainwater moves through the earth, naturally occurring sulfates may make their way into the local water supply. This is especially the case during winter when melting snow and rain may carry road salt runoff into reservoirs. Sulfate may also appear in your water supply as the result of industrial waste, shale, or the breakdown of sulfide ores. In addition to a strange taste, the presence of greater than 500 mg / L of sulfates in your water may produce a laxative effect in those who drink it.

What Should You Do?

Not only is water with a salty aftertaste unpleasant to consume, it can also damage pipes and boilers. Although it is not likely hazardous to humans, high levels of sulfates in your drinking water may cause diarrhea. Additionally, individuals who are on a sodium-sensitive diet should speak with their physicians and may want to take extra precautions if their water has a salty aftertaste.

If your water has a saline taste to it, it is best to have it tested to determine the source of the problem. Visit the EPA website to find a water testing lab in your area. If your water comes from a private well and not a public drinking supply, the EPA may not have the authority to test your water and you may need to take additional steps to get your water tested.

Improving Your Drinking Water

Beyond salt and saline, your tap water is filled with various contaminants and bacteria and every public water source is different. Our mission at Waterlogic is to deliver fresh, clean water to all households and offices with our UV filtration water coolers that eliminate over 99.9999% of bacteria found in tap water sources. Take a look at our product line or request your quote for a water cooler.