September 20, 2021 — Algae is the Culprit behind Drinking Water Taste and Odor Issues

Increasing amounts of algae in Beaver Lake may lead some customers to detect taste or odor in their drinking water right now. What is important to remember is that the water is safe to drink, according to officials with Beaver Water District (BWD).

“In the summer, conditions in Beaver Lake can favor the rapid growth of algae,” said Lane Crider, CEO of Beaver Water District. “While most algae are relatively benign, some can impact the taste and odor of the finished drinking water.”

Crider added that while some customers may be sensitive to its taste and smell, the blooms are typically short-lived.  Regardless, the water is still safe to drink.

Taste and odor issues occur as a result of environmental conditions, but human actions can be a contributor, officials said, adding that they want customers to understand the cause of taste and odor and be proactive about taking care of Beaver Lake. To help keep the lake free of too many nutrients, which contribute to the growth of algae, maintain your septic systems, don’t over fertilize lawns, and contain sediment and dirt on construction sites with silt fencing or other stormwater best management practices.

During events such as these, taste and odor at the tap can be minimized in a variety of ways. For instance, chilling water and/or adding some lemon to the water will help. In addition, carbon filters – the type used in water pitchers or attached to faucets, can be effective at removing taste and odor compounds in drinking water.

“These issues are not unique to our area,” Crider said. “These are seasonal aesthetic events that may last a few days or several weeks. The timeframe varies depending on specific water conditions and algal characteristics. No matter how short or long the duration of the event, however, we want to assure our customers that the water is safe to drink.”

For more information, link to this Fact Sheet on Taste and Odor. https://www.bwdh2o.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/091521-BWD-Taste-and-Odor-Fact-Sheet-UPDATE.pdf

About Beaver Water District

The mission of Beaver Water District (BWD) is to sustainably provide our customers with safe, economical drinking water. BWD pumps the clean water –sourced from Beaver Lake and then put through the water treatment process — to Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville. These cities in Northwest Arkansas then store, distribute, and resell the water to their customers. For more information, visit www.bwdh2o.org.