Local Lake Causing Earthy Smell in Drinking Water


Opelika Utilities assures customers that water is safe to drink


OPELIKA —  Algae growth in lakes, especially during warm weather months, is a common problem in lakes across the country. Officials with Opelika Utilities reported that Saugahatchee Lake, one of the two lakes in the region that is used to provide drinking water for Opelika citizens, is experiencing higher than usual algae growth this year. Those so-called “algae blooms” are resulting in an earthy taste and odor in tap water.

While the taste and odor are unpleasant, the water is safe to drink and use for cooking and bathing. Water from Saugahatchee Lake goes through significant treatment and testing processes to ensure it meets all public health standards. Opelika Utilities is working with scientists and other water experts to evaluate and determine the best and most cost-effective long-term solution.

“Our approach is to address the cause and prevent or minimize future algae growth, rather than spending millions on new treatment technology at our facilities that may not be effective with varying types of algae,” said Dan Hilyer, Opelika Utilities general manager. “It’s a complex challenge, and we want to get it right while minimizing the cost to our customers.”

When cooler weather returns and the algae blooms decrease, so will the taste and smell issues. Until then, here are some tips to help reduce the taste and odor:

• Run the tap for a bit before using

• Refrigerate water in an open pitcher

• Add a slice of citrus or cucumber

• Use an NSF/ANSI-approved activated in-line carbon water filter on your faucets or a carbon-filtered water pitcher.

Learn more about recommended filters and how often to replace them here: https://www.nsf.org/consumer-resources/articles/changing-water-filters

For more information, visit https://www.projecth2opelika.com/tasteAndOdor.


Opelika Utilities provides clean, reliable drinking water to serve a population of over 130,000 people in Opelika, Alabama and surrounding communities. We have the capacity to treat and deliver up to 24 million gallons of drinking water per day. For more information, visit OWWB.com or download the Opelika Utilities mobile app. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here