Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Estuarine Science


Why does salt water taste bitter?

Seawater tastes bitter because there is a lot of the element magnesium (Mg) in seawater. Average seawater (Salinity = 35ppt) contains 1.3 grams of magnesium per liter. In freshwater, more than 0.05 milligrams per liter of magnesium will give the water a bitter taste and stain pipes and clothes.

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