Everett Says Algae Bloom Affecting Taste Of Water For Some

July 12, 2017

Everett Government

Got the following press release in from the City of Everett this morning explaining why some people were reporting a strange taste to the water coming out of their tap…

test water

An algae bloom is being blamed for the strange taste of Everett’s drinking water.

The Everett water filtration plant is experiencing an algae bloom in Lake Chaplain Reservoir – the drinking water source for much of Snohomish County – that has resulted in a metallic taste and fishy odor detectable by some people in the finished water. Officials want customers to know that this algae bloom is exclusively an aesthetic issue – there are no health concerns associated with this event.

To counter the effect of the algae, water from Spada Lake Reservoir is being incorporated into the water filtration process to dilute the concentration of algae and impacts to taste and odor. Currently, the raw water from Spada Lake Reservoir does not contain the same algae as that in Chaplain. Blending Chaplain water with Spada Lake water is expected to dilute the taste to acceptable levels. While many customers will not detect these tastes and odors, for those that do, it could take as long as a week to notice an improvement.

“We haven’t heard from very many of our customers about this, but it’s possible that people with sensitive palates or senses of smell could detect it,” said Dave Davis, public works director. “We’re monitoring the situation on a daily basis and responding with appropriate measures to meet our customers’ expectations for water quality.”
The City of Everett is the third largest water purveyor in the state of Washington, serving about 80 percent of the businesses and residents of Snohomish County through a network of local water providers. For more information about Everett’s water system, visit everettwa.gov/water.

Why does algae grow in water reservoirs?

Just as plants grow on land anywhere conditions are right for them, algae grow in the water supply, and usually to no noticeable effect. Ecological conditions, including weather, elevation, reservoir depth and length, are factors in setting the stage for different kinds of algae to grow. The algae present in the current bloom at Lake Chaplain is Uroglena, from the Chrysophyte taxon, and it is a known fishy taste and odor producer. It has occurred periodically in other Cascade foothills drinking water reservoirs around the region.


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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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