Environment
4:12 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

What's That Smell? Algae Bloom Causing 'Musty' Smelling Water

A blue green algae bloom in Lake Austin may lead to “musty” or “earthy” smelling and tasting water for some Austinites says Austin Water, the utility responsible for city water treatment and distribution.

Jason Hill, a spokesman for Austin Water, said there is no way to know what parts of the city might receive the water, but that the strange smell does not effect its safety.

Austin Water discovered high levels of the algae in routine samples of the city's raw water. Hill said the company is adding powdered carbon to its treatment process to try and counteract the algae’s scent and flavor.

“It takes a very small amount to cause this taste and odor,” he said.

Hill says the bloom is a naturally occurring presence prompted by recent weather.

“It’s a result of the weather conditions,” he said. “We are in the summer months so the higher temperatures make a difference.”