Indiana Daily Student

Bloomington utilities department responds to water taste, odor issues

<p>Movable sinks promoting the quality of Bloomington tap water are seen Sept. 10, 2021, behind Franklin Hall. The Bloomington Department of Utilities has received complaints about their water tasting like dirt or mold since Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.</p>

Movable sinks promoting the quality of Bloomington tap water are seen Sept. 10, 2021, behind Franklin Hall. The Bloomington Department of Utilities has received complaints about their water tasting like dirt or mold since Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.

Recent complaints of bad-tasting water may be due to an increase in algae in Bloomington’s water source, Lake Monroe, Bloomington Utilities Communication Manager Holly McLauchlin said Tuesday. 

The Bloomington Department of Utilities has been receiving complaints about their water tasting like dirt or mold since Friday. McLauchlin said many residents across the city and in some parts of Ellettsville and Brown County had reported this issue.

McLauchlin said the amount of algae currently in the lake might have overwhelmed the powder-activated carbon filtration system and caused the foul taste. McLauchlin said the system works in a similar manner to how a Brita filter works, filtering out chemicals that distort taste and odor.

McLauchlin said the water is still safe to drink, but the taste may persist in some households for up to a week. She said the issue occurred annually before the city upgraded its water filtration system in 2017.

“So this part of the year when it was hot and dry, before it started cooling off, we would get a lot of taste and odor complaints from our customers,” McLauchlin said.

The utilities department is still investigating this issue and collecting extra samples to determine if algae is the cause of the issue, McLauchlin said. 

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