Orange County

OWASA says water safe to drink in Chapel Hill, Carrboro

The Orange Water and Sewer Authority says its drinking water is safe and that work continues to resolve taste and odor issues.

Over the past week, several dozen customers have reported an earthy or musty taste and odor in OWASA water.

The taste and odor result from algae growing in the Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake, OWASA said in a news release Monday. Although OWASA’s treatment process removes algae, some organic compounds may remain in the drinking water that can cause earthy or musty taste and odor.

In response, OWASA has made treatment changes including increased use of powdered activated carbon to resolve taste and odor. Treated water leaving OWASA’s Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant in Carrboro has returned to near normal taste and odor quality, but some water with taste and odor still remains in OWASA’s network of 380 miles of drinking water pipes and its water storage tanks, the release said.

As fresh water from the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant moves through the system, taste and odor should continue to improve in coming days.

“We are working to provide drinking water which is aesthetically pleasing in addition to being safe and healthful,” said Kenneth Loflin, water supply and treatment manager. “We appreciate very much the calls and e-mails from customers who have reported taste and odor in our water, and we are working to resolve this.”