Augusta Utilities Department takes action on smelly water

Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 7:29 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 7:07 AM
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If your tap water smells or tastes like dirt, don’t worry. The Augusta Utilities Department says it’s not dangerous and they’re trying to fix it.

After receiving several complaints of pungent drinking water, Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier said Monday his department was working on it around the clock.

In the meantime, the water poses no health threats.

“It does taste and smell funny, but it’s not a health issue,” he said.

The department, which usually receives three to four calls a week, got eight calls on Monday alone.

“We’re dealing with the same thing that Columbia County was having last week,” he said. “We tried taking preventative measures, but it seems to have caught up with us over the weekend.”

Wiedmeier said the problem could be the result of an algae bloom at Thurmond Lake or in the utilities department’s Highland Avenue raw water reservoir, though the source hadn’t been determined.

Cooler weather could be another factor, he said.

“As the air turns cold and the top of the water chills, the top layer sinks and kicks up sediment that rests at the bottom,” he said. “That sediment could get picked up at our intakes, causing the water to taste and smell funny.”

Jim Plunkett, of Augusta, said he and his wife have noticed a “faint earthy taste” in his drinking water over the past week.

“I would describe it as being similar to drinking water from a garden hose when speck of dirt gets into your mouth,” he said. “I haven’t noticed any smell, just a faint earthy taste.”

Wiedmeier said the department has been adding activated carbon and potassium permanganate to the water at the Highland Avenue treatment facility. That should take the edge off the taste and smell, he said.

Fire hydrants around Augusta have also been left open to flush out any contaminants.

As of Monday afternoon, Wiedmeier said, his employees reported that the smell was gone.

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Gage Creed
17874
Points
Gage Creed 10/28/13 - 09:32 pm
5
1
Just sign this time card and

Just sign this time card and I can take care of that for you... ☺

Young Fred
17860
Points
Young Fred 10/29/13 - 02:56 am
5
0
Gage!

Right!

"It does taste and smell funny, but it’s not a health issue,”

"Cooler weather could be another factor, he said'

"As the air turns cold and the top of the water chills, the top layer sinks and kicks up sediment that rests at the bottom,” he said. “That sediment could get picked up at our intakes, causing the water to taste and smell funny.”

I don't know about you-all but I'm feeling mighty warm and fuzzy about right now!

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 10/29/13 - 05:13 am
0
0
CC had a broken water main off Washington Rd. No alert. Still
Unpublished

smells and taste like dirt. Not to worry it was home construction related.

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 10/29/13 - 05:14 am
0
0
CC water turns the filters red? What could it be?
Unpublished

CC water turns the filters red? What could it be?

nocnoc
45088
Points
nocnoc 10/29/13 - 06:26 am
5
0
Let me see if I understand this correctly

“It does taste and smell funny, but it’s not a health issue,”

The water tastes like dirt, therefore something foreign has entered the water supply, but it is OK, not to worry.

Funny we never heard of this before in the 30+ years the County has owned the Water works.

vegasbaby
175
Points
vegasbaby 10/29/13 - 06:47 am
3
0
And what is Columbia County doing?

It still tastes bad. Are they doing anything to fix this?

Watermedic
292
Points
Watermedic 10/29/13 - 07:32 am
1
0
Taste and odors

Many times the taste and odors are multiplied when a disinfectant is added if organics are present.
The water is safe to drink since it has been disinfected with chlorine. The activated carbon will take care of the taste and odor issues. Potassium Permanganate (KMNO4) will also help with the organics causing the issues.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 10/29/13 - 07:42 am
2
0
Hot, and Cold

Maybe this story will help put things in perspective, NocNoc:

Taste & Odor

Interesting how they blame cool weather this time and they blamed warm weather in 2001.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 10/29/13 - 07:47 am
3
0
Bush

Here's another story from 2009 about musty taste in the water. One of the commenters blamed former president Bush:

Great Powers

nocnoc
45088
Points
nocnoc 10/30/13 - 08:45 am
2
0
LL - I think I have

a notable quote that seems to explain it for me.

SORRY UPDATED
8:43am Oct 30, 2013

To correct a strange link error that pushes it to Amazon.com
if the HTTP is included in the URL to the AC?

checkout
"www.wavsource.com/snds_2013-10-27_4075717104816583/movies/2001/human_error.wav"

belle
309
Points
belle 10/29/13 - 08:53 am
0
0
Does no one take baths anymore?
Unpublished

I personally don't have the time but I do use a water filter and when we noticed the taste I changed the filter. What I saw in the filter container was brown water. It tastes like dirt cause there is dirt! I can't imagine a tub full of water wouldn't have a brown hue.

straitman
3
Points
straitman 10/29/13 - 09:18 am
1
1
Columbia County Water

I am having the same smell in our water. I live in Appling,Ga. I called the CC water office. They send a man out to check my water. He said nothing was wrong. We need so help with this. The water smells and taste like dirt.

vegasbaby
175
Points
vegasbaby 10/29/13 - 10:22 am
3
0
Maybe Obama put something in the water...

There, a president has been blamed... maybe something to induce an acceptance of the new world order... I mean the new wonderful insurance offerings...

Jake
32923
Points
Jake 10/29/13 - 10:25 am
6
0
On a side note...

When served slightly chilled, the water enters the palate with a slightly smoky flavor and holds that flavor until swallowed. It then explodes onto the mid-palate with flavors of green grass and Ken-L-Ration. The finish is long, subtle and retching with notes of acid reflux. Serve with liverwurst, vienna sausages or stale soda crackers.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 10/29/13 - 10:55 am
4
0
Commission

Those commissioners must know something. If you go to a commission meeting you see them drinking only bottled water. As Riverman reminds us, Fred (What, me worry?) Russell walks around the dais, passing out bottles of chilled water to the commissioners.

It would be a better public relations demonstration for the commissioners to make a show of drinking Augusta tap water out of pitchers of ice water that they proudly pour in front of the citizens and the Comcast cameras; but no, it's nothing but the finest bottled water for our commissioners.

Sweet son
10752
Points
Sweet son 10/29/13 - 12:25 pm
1
0
Columbia County Water Department says the Lake 'turned over'

whatever that means. Thus the funky water. RC gets a lot of it's water from the same 'turned over' Lake.

Red Headed Step Child
4184
Points
Red Headed Step Child 10/29/13 - 02:09 pm
4
0
@Jake

along with the vienna sausages, liverwurst and stale soda crackers, another option would be potted meat - the piquant aftertaste partners well.

Riverman1
87034
Points
Riverman1 10/29/13 - 03:10 pm
3
0
That dirt taste

LL...heh....But, seriously, I think something is going on with the taste of the water, too, in Columbia County. That dirt taste. Strange.

Fiat_Lux
15913
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/29/13 - 04:38 pm
3
0
Semi-annual pool inversion

It happens every year, twice in fact. No biggie.

Augusta water is the best of anywhere I ever have lived. It makes Savannah's water seem completely fetid.

resident
501
Points
resident 10/29/13 - 05:05 pm
3
0
Taste

I lived with Well Water this is not that much different. There are minerals and other things that can impact taste and smell. Most of these are natural. Think of it like this.For several years we had shoreline with exposure to nature because of low lake levels. Dust, and other particles settle along with grass and a multitude of other natural things. Now there is water over those areas so this mixes with the lake water and those nutrients and other things nature has used as fertilizer for many of time are now back in water. That will impact PH and other things. Thus the change. This is something they teach in BIOLOGY classes and chemistry classes. I am however a bit surprised that these were not monitored much better or until someone complained about the earthy smells and tastes.

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 10/29/13 - 05:44 pm
4
0
I Hear The Water Is Sweeter....

...in Columbia County than it is in Richmond County, except, of course, for North Richmond County where it is the sweetest of all.

Gage Creed
17874
Points
Gage Creed 10/29/13 - 08:33 pm
2
0
Harley... rumor has is that

Harley... rumor has is that the water is really sweeter in the southern quadrant of North Richmond county.... Unless of course you favor the northern quadrant of South Richmond county. ☺

AutumnLeaves
8505
Points
AutumnLeaves 10/30/13 - 09:55 am
0
0
Yecchh. I recoiled from North

Yecchh. I recoiled from North Augusta's water in two different businesses yesterday (Aiken County). Do they get their water from Savannah River, too? I was hoping it tasted, smelled and felt (texture is slick) better than Richmond County's has the last week or so, but it was almost exactly the same. These businesses put their water through purifiers before serving it, too. I've got to buy more bottled water until the water improves. It might be safe to drink, but that is small comfort when it is nauseating. I haven't been out to Columbia County in the last few weeks so I don't know how it compares to Aiken and Richmond counties. If it is anything like ours, I'm in no hurry to go out there until it is better.

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