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Elevated algae levels might cause harmless musty taste in drinking water

Powder-activated carbon is being used by Manatee County to treat the elevated algae levels.


The new ultrafiltration membranes at the Lake Manatee Water Treatment Plant can filter 50.4 million gallons of water per day.
The new ultrafiltration membranes at the Lake Manatee Water Treatment Plant can filter 50.4 million gallons of water per day.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer
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Manatee County issued an alert Friday that customers of Manatee County Utilities might notice a change in their water taste and odor due to algae blooms.

The county, in a release, noted that "algae blooms are regular seasonal occurrences in Lake Manatee but vary in frequency and duration."

The release said the changes are temporary and not harmful.

The release said "current conditions favor a bloom, and tests conducted over the past several days indicate the presence of algae at elevated concentrations in Lake Manatee. This can create an earthy and/or musty taste or odor in the treated drinking water. While the odor or taste may be noticeable, the water remains safe to drink."

Manatee County Utilities Deputy Director Katie Gilmore said the county will continue to monitor and conduct treatment efforts until water quality returns to normal."

"It is our hope that by informing the public of this algal bloom, we can alleviate any concerns that might arise should a customer experience taste or odor issues in their drinking water,” Gilmore said.

The release said, "since the detection of these compounds in Lake Manatee, the county has implemented a treatment process that involves the addition of powdered-activated carbon. This process is very effective in the removal of taste and odor-causing compounds. However, when the levels reach quantities that exceed the limit of the systems' removal capability, customers may notice a slight earthy/musty taste to their water."

If desired, customers can utilize a carbon filter hooked up to the faucet or to the water system of the refrigerator or a filter pitcher designed for taste and odor removal to help minimize the off-taste and/or odor.

 

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Jay Heater

Jay Heater is the managing editor of the East County Observer. Overall, he has been in the business more than 41 years, 26 spent at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay area as a sportswriter covering college football and basketball, boxing and horse racing.

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