Info Concerning Taste and Odor

June 2, 2022: Lancaster County Water & Sewer District, along with Catawba River Water Supply Project, have done testing to determine the increase in taste and odor reported by customers regarding their water. Results received today, June 2, confirm the presence of algae related compounds that can cause a change in taste and odor for customers.

Water Quality Concerns: The water is safe to drink. The earthy smell and taste are not a health risk, but one of aesthetic quality and common in water systems across the Southeast. Water quality tests performed throughout the water distribution system have confirmed that Lancaster County Water & Sewer District water meets or exceeds all state and federal standards and remains safe to drink.

More Information on Algae: Algae naturally grows in water sources during warm weather. As it grows, it releases small compounds that can cause a musty or earthy taste and odor. Although harmless, some individuals’ senses of taste and smell are extremely sensitive to them, even at low concentrations in drinking water. The compounds are detectable to people at different levels, but the standard threshold number is 5 parts per trillion. Some people may not notice any taste and odor until the levels are much higher. Others may never notice it.

Working to Mitigate: We are implementing water treatment modifications to help mitigate the taste and odor. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust processes as needed.  It may take up to 1 – 2 weeks for these adjustments to be effective at your tap due to implementation and various detention times within the distribution system.

Strategies at Home: There are ways to help reduce the taste and odor at home. Consider chilling water and/or adding lemon. In addition, carbon filters- the type used in water pitchers or attached to faucets- may help.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to address this issue.