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A bloom by any other name …

Friday, October 2, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

Yesterday, the Austin Water utility put residents on notice that a “naturally occurring algae bloom” in Lake Austin could cause an unusual taste and odor in the city’s tap water. It might be a little icky, but the utility assures Austinites that it does not affect the safety of the water – everything is fine. From the press release on the subject: “Austin Water’s routine sampling and testing of our raw water supply has detected elevated blue green algae levels that may lead to concerns of a ‘musty’ taste and odor. The taste and odor is a result of a record setting blue green algae bloom. The water is safe to drink but as the algae complete the bloom it releases compounds that impart a grassy, earthy, musty taste to the water. … To minimize the impact, Austin Water has been adding activated carbon into the treatment process, and increased the carbon addition today. The activated carbon adsorbs the compounds released by the algae that create the taste and odor in the water. By introducing activated carbon in advance Austin Water expects to minimize the impact of any potential taste and odor issues. However, there is still a chance the taste and odor issue may not entirely be eliminated.”

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