Officials explain ‘grassy, earthy’ taste of Montgomery area water

Montgomery Water Works says the water is still perfectly safe.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery residents may be noticing a change in the taste and smell of tap water lately.

The Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board recently published a new FAQ to their website: “Why does my water taste or smell different?”

According to MWWSSB’s website, the change in taste is normal and perfectly safe.

“These changes are not harmful and are due to an increase in naturally occurring substances, geosmin and MIB [2-Methylisoborneol], caused by much warmer weather and higher rainfall amounts this summer,” the website reads.

The FAQ answer goes on to explain that these minerals come from lakes upstream from the Tallapoosa River. These lakes have higher amounts of geosmin and MIB in their water. When there’s more rain around theses lakes, more of their water runs off into the Tallapoosa River where that mineral-filled water is carried down into the Montgomery water supply.

The site further explains that geosmin and MIB are also naturally odorus, or strong smelling, so even small amounts can make water taste and smell more “grassy or earthy.”

While most of the minerals are stripped out of the water during the cleaning process, small amounts still stay behind. However, these traces of geosmin and MIB are neither toxic nor harmful. The water is still perfectly safe to drink.

“We perform many laboratory tests on our water every day,” the website explains, “which results in thousands of laboratory tests on our water every year, on samples from all of our water treatment plants and from hundreds of different locations throughout our distribution system. Despite the taste and odor issues, Montgomery’s water consistently meets or exceeds the Safe Drinking Water Act Standards throughout all of our testing.”

What this all boils down to is that there’s just a little more mineral from lakes than normal, giving the water a slightly different taste.

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