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Each summer, throughout the months of July, August, and September, lakes and other surface water supplies experience a natural event – an "algal bloom." Algal blooms are common to surface water supplies in warm weather climate states like Texas.
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Yes. The taste and odor is a palatability issue. No health hazards are created regardless of the taste and odor.
The conditions are as follows:
When all conditions are met, photosynthesis will take place and the algae will grow or proliferate. Algal species, such as anabaena secrete an "oily" substance from their cells that causes an odor in the water supply. Aquatic fungi, actinomycetes, grow on dead and decaying algae and cause an earthy taste in the water.
North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) utilizes several steps to control the taste and odor produced by the algal blooms. Laboratory personnel, through daily analysis, perform algal counts and can determine the onset of an algal bloom. With the onset of an algal bloom, additional chemicals are added to the treatment process.
Potassium permanganate is added as an oxidizing agent in reducing the odor levels. To reduce the unpleasant taste, activated carbon is used as an absorption media. Each of these chemicals is removed during the treatment process prior to delivery of the potable water supply. Chlorine, which is used as the disinfectant in the treatment process, also aids in odor reduction.
The water is safe to drink with no health hazards created regardless of taste and odor.