Orange Water and Sewer Authority says funky smelling water is safe


CARRBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – If you live in Orange County, you may have noticed that your tap water tastes a little funky.

Orange Water and Sewer Authority officials say it’s nothing to worry about, but the utility is still fielding a lot of complaints.

Anne Johnson says about two weeks ago, she first noticed that her tap water tasted a bit strange.

“I noticed the water tasting sort of like dirt,” said Johnson.

Kristin Aswell noticed it too.

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“I started noticing the water tasting a little funny,” said Aswell. “My son was mentioning that the water was tasting dirty and it smelled funny when he was taking a bath.”

Officials with OWASA say the water is safe to drink.

“Seasonally, we have algae blooms that happen in both our reservoirs and this year the blooms have been a little more intense than they normally have,” said Kenneth Loflin, OWASA Water Supply and Treatment manager.

Loflin says the recent rainfalls washed a lot of organic matter and nutrients into the water that he believes increased the growth of the algae.

“As far as for quality of drinking and taste wise I’m using bottled water,” said Aswell.

Back in February, there was a water shortage in Orange County.

OWASA officials say that was related to an unintentional fluoride over-feed in the system and a line break. Some customers are frustrated with this new issue.

“I think it’s key for folks to realize that the two issues are not connected,” said Loflin.

But others like Johnson say she thinks they handled it the best they could.

“I’m sure it was OWASA’s worst nightmare, but these things happen and I think what matters is how they respond to them,” said Johnson. “What it underscored for me personally is that we really take clean drinking water for granted in this country and not every place has that so I think it doesn’t really help to get mad at the water company when things like this happen.”

Loflin says so far they’ve received 98 complaints. He says the taste and odor should be gone from the water within the next two weeks.

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