History of Taste And Odor of Water

In the summer of 1994 a complaint was made regarding the taste and odor of water. Since then there has been persistent complaint about the state of water towards the end of summer and early fall. Research shows the taste and smell could be from, geosmin, and 2-metylisoborneol which are byproducts of actinomycetes (bacteria) and the blue green algae. Additionally, an increase in the algae also increases the taste and odor of drinking water. Another reason for the increase in the taste and smell of the water is the increased growth of algae. The introduction of zebra filters in the lake increased the depth of light penetration which created an environment favorable for algae to thrive. This growth is especially increased in summer due to the rise in temperature and sunlight. Towards the end of summer the temperatures begin to drop and the algae start to die. As they decompose they increase the taste and smell of water.


To deal with this problem, water companies use Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC). 60 to 80 pounds of PAC are added to 1000000 gallons of water to treat the taste and smell. Another method of treatment is the use of Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC). About twenty inches of the GAC are added to seven rapid sand. The PAC and GAC treat the water by removing organic carbon from the water. For best result the carbon and water must be given adequate contact time. PAC is preferred to GAC since the powdered form of carbon can be controlled for best results treatment.

The introduction of the zebra mussel infestation as altered the ecosystem and even created new ones. The new ecosystem has increased the bloom of the blue-green algae. The blue green algae enters the zebra mussel siphon where they are coated with mucous and then ejected as undigested pseudofeases. In most cases, the blue green algae are usually returned to their normal environment as viable cells. The zebra mussel infestation has also brought increased water clarity, a change in primary zones of productivity from pelagic to benthic zone. There has also been an increase in the nutrient concentrations in the benthic zone. Productivity and distribution of submerged plant characteristics has also increased, in addition to the increase in the diversity of the benthic invertebrates. The bacterial abundance has also increased, summing up the benefits of introducing the zebra mussel communities.

At this point however, the benefits of introducing the zebra mussel communities can only be termed as being theoretical. There have not been significant practical benefits seen by introducing the zebra mussel. However, with the advancement of the research and more practical applications, then perhaps, the water information discussed above will prove to be beneficial to the water resources. Most importantly, because the benefits are still theoretical, some changes will need to be made before a decision to treat water supplies using the zebra mussel communities is reached. This will be done in an effort to ensure that the water balance is not unsettled leading to significant poisoning.