'Earthy' water is safe, Manatee County says

- Some people in Manatee County are getting a bad taste in their mouths from their tap water. They said it tastes and smells a little "earthy." But is it harmful? Manatee County Utilities says no.

"Some people don't even notice it, honestly. Some people are a little bit more sensitive to it," said the county’s Amy Pilson. "It is absolutely not dangerous. It is safe to drink the water. It's just maybe a little bit annoying.”

Stinky water happens about once a year.  Pilson said the Manatee County River is nutrient rich.  That, combined with drought conditions and high temperatures, allows algae to flourish.

It's happening around the Bay Area.  In early April, Hillsborough County residents dealt with the same issue from the reservoir. 

It could be worse.

"We actually treat the lake to try and kill the algae from the lake. We add additional carbon to the water as we process it to try and remove those odors and smells," continued Pilson.

It's not enough for some residents like Shyla Puelston.  "It makes me a little bit nervous," she said.

Puelston and her family use bottled water.  While Manatee County said their water is safe she said she'll stick with her routine.

"That kind of thing really freaks me out. I have five kids. So it's definitely something that would be high on my radar," she added.

Manatee County said there are a few things you can do to help your water taste and even smell better. They suggest running your water through a carbon filter, adding drops of lemon juice to it, or even chilling the water down. They say those things will definitely help out some.

For additional information or questions about this or other water quality issues, contact the Manatee County Water Treatment Plan Quality Control Laboratory staff at 941-746-3020 ext. 226.

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