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Why Does My Water Smell Funny?

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS-- If you've noticed a change to the taste or smell of the water this could be why.
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS-- If you've noticed a change to the taste or smell of the water this could be why.

First and most importantly, says Alan Fortenberry, P.E., Chief Executive Officer for Beaver Water District, folks need to know the water is perfectly safe to drink.

That being said, some customers may detect a taste or odor issue - and the culprit is algae growth and something called "turnover" in Beaver Lake.

“In the summertime, conditions in Beaver Lake promote more rapid growth of algae,” Fortenberry said in a statement. “When the algae die, they may give off smelly chemicals that can cause unpleasant tastes in drinking water. Here at the District, we keep an eye on what’s going on with algae conditions when we sample for ‘MIB,’ or 2-methylisoborneol, an organic compound.”

MIB is released by certain algae as part of the normal life cycle. Algal growth is spurred by sunlight, heat, and nutrients from watershed runoff.

Additionally, in early fall, the lake also experiences what is commonly called turnover, meaning the water in the lake is mixed from top to bottom, Fortenberry said. When this happens, compounds rise from the bottom of the lake to the top, which frequently leads to taste and odor problems.

This change-up happens about once a year, always around this time, said Fortenberry.  

Beaver Water District supplies drinking water to more than 300,000 people and industries in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and surrounding areas.
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