Algae blooms responsible for tap water taste, odor issues

Beaver Lake / Photo: Beaver Water District

If your tap water tastes a little bit off this week, there’s no reason to be alarmed.

According to Beaver Water District, increased amounts of algae in Beaver Lake right now are causing tap water to taste and smell differently than normal, but officials say the water is still very much safe to drink.

“During some springs, conditions in Beaver Lake can favor the rapid growth of algae,” said Dr. James McCarty, Environmental Quality Manager for Beaver Water District. “While most algae are relatively benign, some can impact the taste and odor of the finished drinking water.”

In particular, Uroglena Volvox is currently blooming in parts of the lake at the moment. Officials say Uroglena algae are sometimes known for imparting a “fishy” taste and smell to water.

The last time Uroglena bloomed in Beaver Lake was in 2015. The changes are expected to be short lived.

“These taste and odor issues are not unique to our area,” McCarty said. “It’s just a seasonal event. It may last a few weeks, but the timeframe varies. No matter how short or long the duration of the event, however, we want to assure our customers that the water is safe to drink.”

The algae blooms can be naturally occurring, but human actions can also be a factor. Too many nutrients from factors like overly fertilized lawns, or septic systems not properly maintained, can contribute to the problem.

For more information, contact Amy Wilson, Director of Public Affairs, at [email protected].