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Here’s why your drinking water might have an odd taste and smell
Photo by Walter Randlehoff on Unsplash

Forsyth County residents who may have noticed strange smells or tastes in their drinking water have a good reason. 

According to information from the Forsyth County government, tested raw water from Lake Lanier has shown “that levels of Methylisoborneol (MIB) and Geosmin are higher than have been seen in past years” but the water is still safe to drink. 

“These two compounds are not harmful. However, they can cause an earthy, musty taste and odor in water,” the county said in a press release. “While some people may notice this, many others will not notice it. Unfortunately, this taste and odor are not easily removed by traditional treatment techniques.” 

Per the county’s release, residents may have noticed an “earthy, musty taste and odor” caused by the “turn over” or inversion of Lake Lanier and other land conditions that can release the compounds.  

“We are working to modify our treatment processes to reduce the levels of MIB and Geosmin in the finished water,” the release said. “We are already seeing the reductions from our process changes, but it may take a few days for it to improve at all locations.” 

In a similar statement, officials with the city of Cumming said the naturally-occurring substances causing the taste are produced by blue-green algae and actinomycetes and require “additional levels of powdered activated carbon during the water treatment process.”  

Neither the substance nor the treatment are harmful to the public.