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Manatee County Utilities: Water remains safe to drink despite unusual taste

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MANATEE COUNTY – Manatee County water customers may notice an earthy scent or taste to their drinking water, but County Utilities officials say the water is perfectly safe to drink.

The somewhat different taste and odor of the water are the result of algae blooms that are common on Lake Manatee this time of year. Utilities officials said today water tests over the past several weeks indicate elevated levels of blue-green algae which leaves an earthy and/or musty taste or odor in the water. There are no known health effects caused by the presence of these compounds.

In addition to its standard water treatment standards, Utilities officials add a powder-activated carbon to the treatment process in order to prevent any effect on customers’ water. The water remains entirely safe to drink.

“It is our hope that by informing the public of this potential impact of the algal bloom, we are able to alleviate any concerns that may arise in case a customer detects an earthy taste or smell in their water," said Manatee County Water Manager Mark Simpson. "We will continue monitoring and treatment efforts until water quality returns to normal.”

Though not necessary, customers can install a store-bought carbon filter to faucet, water system of the refrigerator or a filtrated pitcher system to help return water to its normal taste and scent. Chilling the water before drinking it or adding drops of lemon juice to a glass of water can also help.

For additional information or questions about this or other water quality issues, please contact the Manatee County Water Treatment Plant Quality Control Laboratory staff at (941) 746-3020, ext. 228 or ext. 226.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.

Additional Contact Information

Manatee County Water Treatment Plant Quality Control Laboratory

(941) 746-3020 ext. 228