With a prolonged string of temperatures at or surpassing 90 degrees, reservoir water temperatures have elevated to the point where an algae bloom has occurred. As algae die off, these small plants release natural compounds that give the water an unpleasant taste. The water is not harmful and meets all standards for purity; however, it is understandable for residents to become concerned when their water tastes different. The natural compounds that produce the odor can be detected by the human nose at incredibly small levels - around 8 parts per trillion. Each person's sensitivity to tastes and odors varies, so some may still detect the odor after adjustments are made at the treatment plant.
In April, Public Works began pre-treating Goose Haven Reservoir with microbes to better manage emerging blooms. Additionally, a new aeration system was installed this year at Baseline Reservoir, allowing the water to better circulate, and to pull the cooler, bottom water, which also assists to reduce potential issues. The water treatment plant continues to utilize activated carbon, similar to home filtration systems, to minimize disagreeable taste and odor.
While algae counts collected this summer are the lowest they have been in a number of years, algae blooms may still occur and affect water taste. As we work to manage blooms, customers may choose to use a carbon filter or refrigerate water in a pitcher to minimize unpleasant taste and smell. Potential issues will totally dissipate once outdoor temperatures begin to drop.