City working on smelly water

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Catherine Douglas stopped giving tap water to her children last week when she noticed it tasted like bleach.

“I thought it was something new they’re putting the water,” she said. “Ever since last week, I buy the bottled water.”

Amanda Thomas said her tap water tastes like dirt, “Like if I wiped my face after being out in the garden all day.”

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Dawn Crocker said the water smells sour and the pot of coffee she fixed with tap water was “awful.”

They’re not alone. The city announced Tuesday that residents north of U.S. Route 58 may have noticed strange tastes and odors in their tap water because of an increase in algae growth in surface water sources.

The issue is occurring within surface water sources used by the G. Robert House Jr. Water Treatment Plant in Chuckatuck, according to a city press release. It is being caused by recent high temperatures, city spokeswoman Debbie George said in the press release.

The smell and taste are not health hazards, she added.

The Robert House treatment facility serves customers from Godwin Boulevard eastward and from U.S. Route 58 to Harbour View.

George said corrective measures have already been taken at the surface water sources and within the treatment process and that taste and odor of the water are returning to normal at the treatment plant. Customers’ water should be normal again within the next few days, she said.

“Despite the fluctuations in the taste and smell of the water, Suffolk’s tap water continues to meet all regulatory standards,” George wrote. “It is stressed that the city of Suffolk’s water is safe to drink.”

Customers with concerns should call the Department of Public Utilities Water Quality Laboratory at 514-7040.