Sunday, 21 October 2018

Back again: Opelika water customers notice funny smell, taste, from seasonal algae

Back again: Opelika water customers notice funny smell, taste, from seasonal algae
01 Oct

Opelika residents who notice an earthy taste or smell in their water have nothing to worry about, according to Opelika Utilities.

“This is a result of seasonal algal blooms in Saugahatchee Lake,” General Manager Dan Hilyer explained Friday in a press release from Opelika Utilities. “Similar events are occurring across the country due to weather and other natural conditions.

“We monitor our water constantly and are aware of the situation. Opelika Utilities assures its customers that their water is completely safe to consume.”

The company addressed a similar issue last winter, when some residents complained that the water in Opelika had a peculiar taste and scent. That was due to an unusually large amount of algae in the lake, most likely caused by a substantial amount of rain in 2017, according to Opelika Utilities Board chairman Jeff Hilyer.

“The algae in the lake is a naturally occurring event,” he told the Opelika-Auburn News in November. “And management thinks that this year, with the abundant rainfall, the algae flourished more than normal. And with the change in the water temperature, this algae has started to die off, and it gives it an odd taste and color detectable by some people.”

Cold weather was expected to help clear the algae. In February, Dan Hilyer said no taste or odor had been detected in water entering the distribution system since before Christmas. There may still have been some pockets along the 300 miles of pipeline in the distribution system that had the peculiar taste or sent at that time, though.

Still, Opelika Utilities emphasizes to its customers that the water is safe to drink.

“Efforts are ongoing to reduce or eliminate the objectionable flavor and smell,” Dan Hilyer stated in the press release issued Friday. “These include testing and evaluating the effectiveness of new activated carbon filters and Nano filtration technology.

“Opelika Utilities asks for your patience and understanding as we work to determine the most cost-effective, long-term solution to this issue.”

Opelika Utilities asks customers who have questions or concerns to call 334-705-5500.

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