Summer’s warmer temperatures provide an excellent breeding ground for algal blooms in standing water like reservoirs. These algal blooms can release compounds that give off a swampy or earthy taste and odor into drinking water. Nevertheless, despite the undesirable taste and odor, the water is still safe to drink.
Greeley Water proactively conducts weekly tests during peak algal bloom months to ensure it provides customers with quality water. Staff monitor reservoir water conditions for early indicators of algal growth. Furthermore, the city has increased oxygen levels using an aeration system near Boyd Lake to encourage water circulation and reduce nutrients that result in algal blooms.
Michaela Jackson, water quality and regulatory compliance manager for the City of Greeley, leads a knowledgeable team that stays ahead of algal blooms by understanding their favored environments.
“Through rigorous water quality monitoring, operational oversight and hydrological assessments, we identified areas within reservoirs where algal blooms are most likely to occur,” Jackson said. “Algae can enter a phase of excessive growth if they receive sufficient nutrients (food). Runoff from wildfire burn scars can contribute additional nutrients to the reservoirs, which supports larger and more frequent algal blooms.”
However, due to the dynamic nature of algal blooms, it is not always possible to intercept these compounds before they enter the water main pipes. Once that happens, customers may detect an earthy taste or odor in their tap water. To address these concerns, customers are encouraged to contact the Water Taste and Odor hotline at 970-336-4097 or send an email to email@example.com.
Greeley staff promptly investigates reports of undesired tastes and odors in Greeley’s water. Greeley’s two water treatment plants at Bellvue and Boyd Lake use the same stuff as a household refrigerator water filter, powdered activated carbon, to reduce undesirable taste and odor compounds from the water during treatment.
The water quality team values customer feedback on undesirable tastes and odors in the water because it helps staff determine how long it takes to remove compounds from the system.
“When water demand is high and the concentrations of these compounds are low, they can be gone in a few days,” Jackson said, “When concentrations are higher, however, it can sometimes take a week for the taste and odor to clear out from the water mains.”
Customers can lessen the taste and odor of their water:
- Refrigerate the water. Taste and odors start to go away as water cools.
- Add lemon to drinking water to counteract the undesirable taste or odor.
- Household water filters that use activated charcoal can remove the undesirable taste and odor.
Customers may also occasionally encounter other tastes and odors, such as those resembling metal, chlorine, or rotten eggs in their water. These are not normally associated with algal blooms. In such instances, customers should notify the water quality team at 970-336-4097 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By actively addressing algal blooms and consistently striving to enhance water quality, Greeley remains dedicated to ensuring a reliable and enjoyable water supply for its residents.