Odd smell, taste of Lanier water linger in Forsyth County

Beneath the placid surface of Lake Lanier lurk algae that produce compounds that can lend an off-putting smell and taste to drinking water. Forsyth County assures residents the substances are harmless and will go away with time.
Beneath the placid surface of Lake Lanier lurk algae that produce compounds that can lend an off-putting smell and taste to drinking water. Forsyth County assures residents the substances are harmless and will go away with time.

Credit: Forsyth County

Credit: Forsyth County

The Forsyth County Water and Sewer Department, again responding to reports of funny-smelling, earthy-tasting water from Lake Lanier, has posted a water quality update saying the water is safe to drink, and the agency is continually testing and monitoring.

Levels of methylisoborneol (MIB) and geosmin, two naturally occurring compounds produced by algae, have tested higher than in previous years, the county said. They started rising in early August and appeared to be dropping in early October.

“Bright sun, warm temperatures and nutrients result in ideal growing conditions for the algae,” and the compounds are released when algae dies, the county said.

Forsyth is using a powdered activated carbon system to reduce levels of the substances. In the meantime, as weather conditions and water quality change, the compounds will decrease until they eventually become undetectable to humans, the county said. Information: https://bit.ly/37fvvAv

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