Hundreds of individuals in West Cumbria recently took to social media to complain that their kettles are “going off like popcorn” when they boil them.

Residents complained that their tap water smelled odd and had a scum on the surface of the water. When they boiled the water in a kettle for tea, their kettles began “popping.”

Cheryl Corlett, of Kells, said the weird development had put her off using her tap water.

She said, “I noticed a week ago the kettle popping when boiling but thought it might have been on its way out and I was just going to use it until it gave in. I only noticed the smell of the water on Saturday.

I noticed, when making a cuppa, the water turns black in about two seconds as if the tea’s been brewing for ages and what I would call bubbly scum in cups of tea as if the milk’s curdling or something. When I wash dishes they still have a funny smell on them. It’s weird. United Utilities said there are no issues but it’s not normal so I’m not drinking anything using the tap water,” she added.

Cheryl Barwise reported on Facebook that in Gosforth the water had been popping for a few days and that the water got brown fast and formed a scummy froth in her tea cup.

Derek Edge said that they used leaf tea and had recently noticed an unusual scum around the side of the mugs, but had thought it was an issue with the tea they were using.

United Utilities apologised to its customers about the problems with the water, saying that the sound was caused by tiny bubbles forming and collapsing as the water boils, and was due to a change in the water supply which blended soft water from Ennerdale with harder water from boreholes near Egremont. It added that regular water samples show that, despite the popping noises, the water supply meets all water quality standards.

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