Why Does The Drinking Water Have An Odd Smell and Taste? - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Why Does The Drinking Water Have An Odd Smell and Taste?

Updated: Nov 12, 2012 09:50 PM CST

Have you noticed anything different in your drinking water? Numerous people from Rock Island to Burlington are reporting changes in their water's smell and taste. Here at TV6 we've received several email and Facebook questions about the issue.

We asked people on the KWQC TV6 Facebook page, "Have you noticed a strange taste or smell in your water? More than 200 people responded saying they have noticed smells and tastes ranging from rust to dirt to chemicals. TV6 decided to find out why the change in the water is happening and it's because of the Mississippi River.

"This usually happens twice a year," says Rock Island Public Works Director Robert Hawes, "In the spring and fall there is a taste and odor change in water from the river."

The change in smell and taste happens, because the river's temperature is changing. In this case it's getting colder, causing the water to turn over.

"The water at the top and the water at the bottom switch," adds Hawes.

When the turn over happens people start to notice changes in smell and taste. The public works department monitors the change at the treatment plant.

"We started adding powder activated carbon which controls taste and odor," says Hawes.

Another reason for the different odor and smell is hydrant flushing.

"In the spring and fall we flush all of our hydrants, so that also stirs up the water to some extent and it takes a little while for it to settle down," says Hawes.

The chemicals added to treat the changes in the water are not harmful and eventually the water will go back to normal. However, that could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.