Roswell’s new water treatment plant opened this year, replacing a facility dating to 1935. CITY OF ROSWELL.

What's making Roswell's water taste weird?

Roswell city officials are modifying their current water treatment practices after a series of customer complaints involving foul-tasting water.

Roswell community relations manager Carisa Turner said in an email Tuesday the city suspects sodium hypochlorite — or chlorine — is the chemical causing the taste. The water utility division combines chlorine with sodium permanganate for daily water treatment.

“Since the change in taste, we have stopped adding sodium hypochlorite to the water in the tank and have increased the dosage of sodium permanganate. This treatment change should reduce taste and odor,” Turner said.

City officials said water utility division staff received several complaints about the water’s taste and quality — which residents have described as “earthy” and “grassy” — within the past week. City officials also said water plant staff noticed this particular taste emerging at its treatment plant on Saturday.

The water’s odious taste is affecting how some businesses throughout the city’s historic area operate.

Adrianna Dukes, assistant manager of Roux on Canton, said in a telephone interview she started noticing issues with the water last Thursday. Since then, Dukes and co-owner Peggy Bramblett have purchased bagged ice and bottled water to serve their patrons.  

“I mean, it’s not really affecting our business, but it does costs us money obviously because we have to outsource (our ice and water),” Dukes said.

Despite complaints, the water still meets Georgia Environmental Protection Division standards, Turner said, adding it is “completely safe” to drink and is related only to taste and odor.

According to city officials, this issue has never happened before.

“It is not an issue that we have had,” Turner said. “In fact, we have regularly been on the scale of excellence in water quality. It really isn’t differing from that at all.”

Roswell has a water utility that serves about 5,500 households and produces 3.3 million gallons per day. The recent water issue primarily affects households within Roswell’s water coverage area, which stems 7.1 miles and includes 83 miles of line. The rest of the city’s water is served by Fulton County. 

The city finished constructing its $15 million water treatment plant and 10 million gallon raw water tank in May, replacing its former 80-year-old facility. The massive tank pretreats Roswell’s water before it goes through the actual purification process at the treatment plant.

Changes are ongoing, yet, city officials said water customers should see improvements to the taste within one to two weeks.

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