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Energy and Environment

Funny Tasting Water: Seasonal Compound Percolates Through Cheney Reservoir

Cheney Reservoir and Dam.

The City of Wichita is responding to a handful of complaints from people in west Wichita and north of downtown noticing a distinctive taste and odor in their tap water.

Don Henry, assistant director for Public Works and Utilities, says the problem is due to a seasonal issue out at Cheney Reservoir. He says the city is using an ozone injection system to treat the water.

"We’ve upped the dose there to take care of the issue," Henry says. "It’s not uncommon this time of the year as we see shorter days and cooler days for algae to die off, and as the algae dies off, it releases a compound called geosmin into the water, and that’s what causes the odor and the taste."

Henry says geosmin is typically described as having an earthy odor. The water department is adding more treatment to the water and, depending on where your point of service is in Wichita, it can take up to four days before that improved water reaches your tap. The city says Wichita's water meets all the requirements for compliance and is safe to drink.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

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