Algae responsible for tap water taste and odor issues

Beaver Lake / Photo: Beaver Water District

Don’t be alarmed if your water tastes a little odd right now.

Officials with Beaver Water District said increased amounts of algae in Beaver Lake may lead some people to detect a strange taste or odor in their drinking water.

For those who do notice a difference, the water is still safe to drink, said Lane Crider, the district’s CEO.

“In the summer, conditions in Beaver Lake can favor the rapid growth of algae,” Crider said. “While most algae are relatively benign, some can impact the taste and odor of the finished drinking water.”

The taste and odor is usually the result of environmental conditions, but human actions can be a contributor, Crider said. To help keep the lake free of too many nutrients, which contribute to the growth of algae, people are asked to maintain their septic systems, don’t over fertilize lawns, and contain sediment and dirt on construction sites with silt fencing or other stormwater best management practices.

The issue can be minimized in a variety of ways. For instance, chilling water or adding some lemon to the water will help, officials said. Carbon filters can also be effective at removing taste and odor compounds in drinking water.

“These issues are not unique to our area,” Crider said. “These are seasonal aesthetic events that may last a few days or several weeks. The timeframe varies depending on specific water conditions and algal characteristics. 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.”