In some parts of the country, drinking water can contain the chemical hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas, which smells just like rotten eggs. This can occur when water comes into contact with organic matter or with some minerals, such as pyrite. The situation mostly occurs as ground water filters through organic material or rocks. Hydrogen sulfide can be treated by a manganese greensand filter, or by chlorination.
First of all, it still could be hydrogen sulphide, it just may not have been present in the water supply when you had it tested. It is important to remember that H2S is a gas and levels can fluctuate from a day-to-day basis due to barometric pressure. If you are sure it is not H2S, it could be a reaction of the magnesium anode rod located in your hot water heater. To remedy this, remove the rod, or replace it with an alternate material such as aluminum.
The terms "soft water" and "hard water" are important here. Water is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, and hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. If you use soft water, the ions react with the soap you use to produce a residue that feels like it is difficult to wash off. If you use hard water, you also will have a harder time working the soap up into a lather. Hard water is typically the number one concern of water treatment professionals and can easily be addressed with a water softener.
The brown stain is from a large amount of iron in your water. It is closely related to simple rust you see on metal, which is iron oxide. The source of the water you use probably is ground water, and the water has filtered through rocks containing iron-rich minerals on the way to the well.
Once in a while you get a glass of water, and it looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might be under a bit of pressure, and gases (the air), which are dissolved in the pressurized water, will come out as the water flows into your glass, where is under normal atmospheric pressure.
It sounds like there is a very high chloride (Cl-) content in your water. The problem with the stainless steel flatware is likely enhanced if they are cleaned in a dishwasher as the high drying temperatures of the dishwasher will accelerate the corrosion. High chlorides can be reduced with reverse osmosis technology.
It sounds like the water has a high carbon dioxide content (pH below 6.8) reacting with the brass and copper pipes that are causing the staining. To remedy this acid water condition, you could use a calcite filter to neutralize the pH, feed soda ash into the water with a feeder, or use a mixed media of calcite/magnesia oxide.
Your water contains tannins (humic acids) which are harmless organics caused by water seeping through decaying organic matter such as leaves or peat. Water with tannins are typically from a surface water supply such as lakes and streams. Tannins can be removed by an absorption process using a special macroporous Type 1 anion exchange resin or by chlorination.
If your municipally treated water has a fishy taste and brewed beverages (coffee & tea) don't taste right, the problem is likely caused by a residual of chloramines (chlorine & ammonia) in the water. Municipalities like to use chloramines as they tend not to form disinfection by-products like traditional chlorination does. Granular activated carbon works extremely well to reduce the chlormaine level in drinking water.
Blue baby syndrome, or cyanosis, causes a dusky bluish or purplish discoloration of the skin of a baby or in the mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygen in the blood. This is typically the result of excess nitrates (NO3-) in the water and methemoglobinemia in infants. In methemoglobinemia the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is reduced as a result of a reaction with nitrite (NO2-), which changes the healthy hemoglobin to an inactive methemoglobin form. RO, distillation, or a strong Type II base anion resin can reduce the nitrates.
Your municipality is adding chlorine to the water at the water treatment plant to ensure that the treated water leaving the plant arrives to your tap, wherever it may be located in the distribution system, with enough of a residual chlorine level to ensure safe bacteriological levels. Unfortunately, this chlorine is the same basic compound that you likely use in your swimming pool and it can be objectionable in regards to both taste and odour. Simple granular activated carbon filtration will easily remove this chlorine taste and odour from the water.
Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), is a chemical compound with molecular formula C5H12O. MTBE is a volatile, flammable and colorless liquid that is immiscible with water. MTBE has a minty odor vaguely reminiscent of diethyl ether, leading to unpleasant taste and odour in water. MTBE is a gasoline additive, used as to oxygenate and raise the octane number, although its use has declined in response to environmental and health concerns. It has been found to easily pollute large quantities of groundwater when gasoline with MTBE is spilled or leaked at gas stations. Activated carbon adsorption is used to remove, however the carbon will be depleted at a rate that is two to three times greater than if the carbon was used to treat chloroform.
The grittiness you are experiencing is caused from excessively fine sand or silt in the water supply that is bypassing any well screens and settling out in the bath tubs and sinks. Simple sediment reduction cartridges will address this common problem.
The problem could be one of two things. The first, could be from a high sodium or magnesium content (e.g., NaCl, NaSO4, or MgSO4), while the second could be a malfunction of the water softener resulting in brine entering the water lines. The first problem can be fixed with RO or distillation technologies and the second would require a service call to fix the water softener
The likely cause of this phenomenon is a high dissolved mineral content (TDS) and high alkality in the raw water (e.g., SO4, Cl, or HCO3). Reverse osmosis technology will address these issues.
The metallic taste is likely the result of one of two things. First, it could be a high iron content in the water and this would be recognizable if there was any staining in the fixtures in the home, or, it could be the result of a very low pH (acid water), in the range of 4.5 - 5.5. The iron can be address with a water softener or iron filter and the low pH can be corrected with a calcite media filter.
Your parents were right and wrong! It is true that rainwater, when it leaves a cloud, is pretty close to pure H2O, but that's about where it all stops. As that raindrop falls to earth through the atmosphere it picks up many impurities along the way. Once it enters the cistern, even more issues begin to happen. Although cisterns store water, they also act as a huge breeding ground for all forms of bacteria. No water should be consumed from a cistern without being disinfected by some method such as ultraviolet light.