Water Department receives 50 complaints in two days on water taste, smell

[10th, May 2014] The Quincy Water Department has received about 50 calls in the past two days from residents who say the city’s tap water has an “off taste” and “funny smell.” Director of Utilities and Engineering Jeff Conte said the city cleaned some storage tanks Wednesday, and calls started coming in Thursday…

“We think that either is the cause or certainly contributing to it,” he said. “We also had a water main break on Spring Street, which we repaired.”

Conte said algae growth has increased with the change in river conditions. Algae was the source of taste and smell issues the city had in 2012.

“We’re treating it and monitoring it,” he said. “We’ve done all our testing, and there’s nothing unusual. They’re all clear. We’re confident that the water is safe, but we still take the odor and taste seriously.”

Most of the complaints were from older parts of the city west of 24th Street.

Conte said the city typically has two-and-a-half days of water storage, so he expected the taste and smell problems to continue for a few days.

“What we’re going to try and do this weekend is we’re not going to pump any water, and we’re going to let the water that’s in (storage) be used naturally,” he said. “We’re hoping that will expedite getting that water out of the system.”

The city will resume pumping water Sunday.

With upgrades planned to the water treatment plant this fall, Conte believes that will help minimize future taste and smell complaints.

“Being on the river, we’re always subject to rapidly changing conditions,” he said. “I’m not saying we’re going to eliminate 100 percent of the taste and odor complaints, but we think we can do a better job in the future with some of these improvements.”

Matt Hopf, Herald-Whig

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