The City of Lafayette, like our neighboring communities, receives its water supply from surface water sources such as creeks and ditches. With a wet spring and early summer followed by a prolonged string of temperatures at or surpassing 90 degrees late this summer, the water temperature in the creeks/ditches and storage reservoirs has raised to the point where algae blooms have occurred. This is a little later than average years. As algae die off, these small plants release natural compounds that can affect the taste and odor of the water. In addition, tastes and smells generally become more pronounced in warm water.
Water Treatment Staff are adapting treatment techniques to mitigate the issue. Operators have begun adding activated carbon, a material similar to what is used in carbon filters, to abate taste and odor. The natural compounds that produce the odor can be detected by the human nose at incredibly small levels around 8 parts per trillion. In addition, each person's sensitivity to tastes and odors varies, so some may still detect the odor after adjustments are made at the treatment plant. The water is not harmful and meets or exceeds all drinking water standards; however, it is understandable that people become concerned when their water tastes differently. Fortunately, we anticipate this event will end as outdoor temperatures begin to drop. In the meantime, customers can use a carbon filter or refrigerate water in a pitcher to help improve taste and smell.