Water
5:42 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

What's That Taste in Forsyth Co. Water?

NW Forsyth Co. water should be tasting better over the next few days.
Credit Wasserhahn '''Photographer''': ''thesaint'' a.k.a Matthew Bowden

Many northwest Forsyth Co. residents have noticed a change in the taste of their water.  Bill Brewer, water treatment superintendent for the City-County Utilities Division, says the change is most noticeable for those living north of I-40 and west of U-S 52.

"The problem is caused by algae in the raw water that we treat," Brewer says. "These algeaes produce compounds that produce musty and earthy tastes and orders. People that are sensitive to them are very, very sensitive to them." Brewer stresses that it's not harmful.

Brewer says the algae issue is most apparent at the Swan water plant in Pfafftown.

We've had a very, very wet spring, and with that you get a lot of rain runoff. And that runoff carries nutrients that feed the algae and creates a more hospitable environment for them to grow in, because there's an abundance of food.  When that happens, sometimes you get large quantities of algae, and this byproduct that they produce creates these tastes and odors.

Brewer says the changed taste was first noticed over the holiday weekend, and workers immediately began treating the water. He says it typically takes 2 to 4 days to flush the algae out of the water system, and that the number of calls about the taste are already declining.