Reddit | John5671

Guy Finds Rubbery Growths In Glass Of Water And Immediately Asks Reddit's Help

I like to think that I'm a pretty laid back person. I get that the world is a weird, often unexplainable place and most of the time there isn't a rational explanation for things.

But I also expect certain things to be trustworthy and while we can quibble about the exact details of what does or doesn't belong in municipal tap water, we can all agree that it shouldn't grow weird rubber Cheetos when left out overnight.


But that's exactly what Redditor John5671 found in his.

"Poured a glass of water last night from the tap left it under the light on the night stand, next morning I found this floating in it... What could it be?! Yikes!" his post read.

A *lot* of people pour themselves a glass of bedside water each night, but this is a first.

It would be one thing if he'd left it out for days and it got contaminated with some sort of mold or something fell in it.

But this was just overnight.

So he turned to the experts in r/whatisthisthing for help identifying whatever the heck it was.

Originally, he described it as being about the size of a toothpick.

Reddit | John5671

Which had people guessing that it was maybe some bloated white rice or a bacterial colony beginning to grow due to something contaminating the glass in the night.

Which seemed pretty likely at first.

"It's probably triggered by bacterial contamination, but is really the micelles clumping together. An excess of grime and bacteria in the water is the most likely cause of the blobs," said SpaceFlightAstro.

But others noted that the toothpick description seemed off and asked for more pics.

Imgur | JohnnyGeo

What those pics revealed was that by "toothpick" he meant as long as one. The actual "growths" were like white Cheetos.


That immediately made "bloated rice" wrong and a few biologists explained that there was no way a bacterial colony could grow that fast in a single night.

And that's when the likely answer made everyone look suspiciously at their taps.

User Apocrisiary said:

"If it actually did come out the tap with the water, my guess is some sort of flocculant/coagulant used in tap-water treatment, that somehow made it past the system and was still dissolved/in suspension in the water. Then settled out during the night.


"These chemicals are used to attract particle in the water and clump them together for easier removal. Some of those "concoctions" looks similar to this after settling out.

"Source: Lab technician."

So these rubbery Cheetos were possibly caused by the local water treatment plant.

Imgur | JohnnyGeo


That's definitely not grossing me out right now, no siree.

Redditor k-pattern noted that such things should have been filtered out after water treatment.

And before reaching public taps.

"I would be very concerned if flocculants or coagulants make it to my tap. It's one of the first steps in water treatment after it gets tapped from the dam/River to get rid of the bulk of the organic and some inorganic solids. Then there is (should be) a whole bunch of filtration and sterilization processes going on down stream of that, with some plants even having reverse osmosis.

"Source: Civil engineer designing these plants."

Another user, xLacriimosa, who said they were a water treatment plant operator, agreed.

Of course, no one can 100% confirm anything from a photo on the Internet, but it's definitely most likely.

They did note that the polymer coagulant was non-toxic and should be harmless. Though they wouldn't eat it.

The coagulant is meant to collect other contaminants for easy filtering.

Meaning that while it isn't harmful on its own, it could have collected a bunch of nasty stuff along with it.

As for what to do about it, the error could be a one-off fluke at the plant.

Unsplash | Markus Spiske

People urged John5671 to set out a fresh glass or two and see what happens. If it continues, then it should be brought to the attention of the people in charge of the plant.

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