Recently some Lafayette residents have noticed a distinctive difference in drinking water taste and smell. With a prolonged string of high temperatures, the water temperature in reservoirs has raised to the point where algae blooms have occurred. As algae die off, these small plants release natural compounds that give the water an unpleasant taste. Additionally, tastes and smells generally become more pronounced in warm water.
The water treatment plant staff has begun adding activated carbon, a material similar to what is used in carbon filters, to minimize the disagreeable taste and odor. The natural compounds that produce the odor can be detected by the human nose at incredibly small levels around 8 parts per trillion. In addition, each person's sensitivity to tastes and odors varies, so some may still detect the odor after adjustments are made at the treatment plant.
The water is not harmful and meets all standards for purity; however, it is understandable when people become concerned when their water tastes different. Fortunately, we anticipate this event will end when outdoor temperatures begin to drop. In the meantime, residents can use a carbon filter or refrigerate water in a pitcher to help minimize taste and smell.