North Texans Deal With Smelly Water

Algae blooms affect smell, taste of water

People in different parts of the Metroplex are noticing a bad odor and taste in tap water that comes from area lakes.

Water district officials say last year's drought worsened the statewide problem.

"Usually, when you have an extended dry period and the lake levels have receded quite a bit, then there is some regrowth of vegetation in exposed area," Denton's Water Division Manager Tim Fisher said. "When spring rains come -- which we did have this year -- and refills those reservoirs, the vegetation gets inundated, and it goes through a decay cycle and releases nutrients. Those nutrients can spur the algae impacts."

Tracie Verrette, who lives in Denton County, said the unpleasant smell happens almost every year. When the summer heat arrives, she notices a stench in her tap water.

"It just has an odor. It smells not appealing, and you can even taste what you are smelling," she said. "It smells like there is algae in the water."

Water district officials said the odor and taste are harmless, but some residents, such as Verrette, choose not to drink from their faucets.

"We drink purified water from the refrigerator, or we drink bottled water," Verrette said.

Officials say any place that pumps water from a lake could experience smelly water.

Fisher said there are treatment options to deal with the algae and that different cities and water districts may use different methods.

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