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Lake Manatee algal blooms may affect taste, color of drinking water but it is safe

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MANATEE COUNTY – Customers of Manatee County Utilities may notice a temporary and non-harmful change in their water taste or odor. Algae blooms are regular seasonal occurrences in Lake Manatee but vary in frequency and duration. Current conditions favor a bloom, and tests conducted over the past several days indicate the presence of algae at elevated concentrations in Lake Manatee. This can create an earthy and/or musty taste or odor in the treated drinking water. While the odor or taste may be noticeable, the water remains safe to drink.

“We will continue monitoring and conducting treatment efforts until water quality returns to normal,” said Manatee County Utilities Deputy Director Katie Gilmore. “It is our hope that by informing the public of this algal bloom, we can alleviate any concerns that may arise should a customer experience taste or odor issues in their drinking water.” Since the detection of these compounds in Lake Manatee, the County has implemented a treatment process that involves the addition of powdered-activated carbon. This process is very effective in the removal of taste and odor-causing compounds. However, when the levels reach quantities that exceed the limit of the systems' removal capability, customers may notice a slight earthy/musty taste to their water.

The water remains entirely safe for consumption. If desired, customers can utilize a carbon filter hooked up to the faucet to the water system of the refrigerator or a filter pitcher designed for taste and odor removal to help minimize the off-taste and/or odor.

Additional information or answers to frequently asked questions about this or other water quality issues can be found at this link.