City-county water plants are working to eliminate a recent change in the taste and odor of tap water caused by the growth of algae during the recent rainy weather.
The algae have given tap water a musty or earthy taste and odor, but it is not harmful, says Bill Brewer, the water treatment superintendent for the City-County Utilities Division. The change is most noticeable for water customers who are north of Interstate 40 and west of U.S 52.
“We have made operational and treatment changes at the Swann and Neilson water treatment plants but it will take a while for that to work its way through the distribution system,” Brewer said. “We have noticed an improvement at the plants so I feel confident our customers should notice an improvement over the next couple of days.”
The prolonged wet weather increased runoff into the Yadkin River from which the plants draw water, bringing with it more nutrients from farmland that feed algae in the plants’ raw water storage reservoirs.
The water plants try to account for this by controlling the times when they pump water from the river into the plants’ raw water reservoirs, but the prolonged rains this spring have made it unavoidable.
“We are working diligently to eliminate the taste and odor caused by the algae,” Brewer said. “We realize that it is very disconcerting to people who are sensitive to it, but I want to stress that it is not harmful.”