Why is there Oily Film Floating on My Water?

Your tap water should look crystal clear. If you see an oily-looking sheen on it, there’s a good chance it’s contaminated.

A close up of oily film on tap water

Don’t stress! There are things you can do to get rid of that gaseous taste!

You’re just getting home from the gym. All you want to do is kick up your feet and give your muscles a break. Truthfully, nothing would be better than a cold glass of water. You draw a glass from the tap and are repulsed by the oily film on it. The water looks exactly like gasoline! Don’t put up with this too long; there’s a solution to the problem!

Continue reading to learn:

  • Why there’s oily film on tap water
  • The possible health risks of ingesting this water
  • How to eliminate the oily film
Tell Us How We Can Help!

Why is There an Oily Film on My Tap Water?

If you have oily film on tap water, it’s probably for one of two reasons: hydrogen sulfide or iron bacteria. You can tell what the culprit is by stirring the water with a stick. If the oil doesn’t break up when you stir it, it’s most likely hydrogen sulfide, a natural source. If it does break up, it’s caused by an iron oxide mineral.

Hydrogen sulfide is a naturally occurring gas, except when it’s found in well water. This typically appears from decomposing plant matter found underground, in sewage treatment plants or petroleum refineries. Iron bacteria causes the oily film when your water has iron-containing minerals and excess organic matter.

Here are a few other things to know about oily film on tap water.

Homes with Well Water Are Prone to Oily Film

There are several reasons why there might be an oily film on well water. Wells are holes drilled through the Earth’s crust, tapping into a sitting bedrock. It’s not uncommon for decomposing plant and animal matter to exist under this bedrock; decomposing plant and animal matter is the first stage in petroleum creation. So, when you extract this water, the decomposing plant or animal matter creates hydrogen sulfide, thus producing well water with oily film.

City Water is Also Susceptible

City water runs through water treatment plants. This means the water is treated with chlorine or chloramine. However, this doesn’t mean they’re getting rid of the oil. Essentially, as people take water out of the Earth (or a source like Lake Michigan), they treat it with chlorine, and it oxidizes. When this happens, particles are left in the underground piping system. Sometimes, hydrogen sulfide appears when the particles coat the pipes, or the pipes are too old.

The Potential Health Risks of Oily Film on Water

There are some possible health risks of oily film on drinking water. Though, they’re minor. You might experience a sour stomach or diarrhea with overexposure, but small dosages are okay. However, there are other symptoms that appear from oily film on water you might not be happy about. These include:

A graphic illustrating the difference an RO system can make by removing oily film from water


How to Eliminate the Oily Film on Water

So, what should you do about the oil in well water or city water? Read more below to find out what you can do to get out of this sticky situation!

Step 1: Get Your Water Tested

You should get your water tested if you consistently see an oily film floating on top of it. You won’t have a concrete answer until you get the supply tested by an expert.

Consider getting your water tested by an EPA-certified company. Such companies, like Angel Water, will know what to look for when testing the water. In addition, these professionals can recommend the best water filtration system out there.

Step 2: Invest in an NSF/ANSI 58 Certified Reverse Osmosis System

Reverse osmosis systems remove harmful chemicals from water before it gets to your tap so you have the cleanest water possible. These systems force water through a semi-permeable filter so that it can flush additional contaminants.

When it comes to RO systems, we recommend an NSF/ANSI 58. These systems have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they can remove the most contaminants possible. You can rest easy if you purchase one of these systems.

You might also need a chlorine injection system, depending on what type of oily film you’re dealing with. A chlorine injection system keeps your water treated at all times to stop the oily film from building up.

Step 3: Have the System Installed and Maintained by a Professional

There’s one final step to ensure that oily film is gone for good: You must have your system installed by an expert so that it works properly. These specialists should also help service these filtration systems over the years, so they last well into the future.


Need Help Oily Film on Tap Water?

You don’t have to suffer and drink water with an oily film on it. We’d be more than happy to help you resolve the problem!

With over 50 years of experience, Angel Water will help you get your water back to normal. Call us at (847) 382-7800 to get the healthy water you deserve today!

If you live in the Chicagoland region or West Palm Beach, FL, let us help you today!

Tell Us How We Can Help!

Please call us today at 847-382-7800

or fill out the form below to talk with an expert or schedule a free consultation!

Schedule In-Home Water Test

Use the button below to choose a time. Our team will be in touch to confirm the day, time and location of your appointment.