Algae on Hiwassee causing bad odor, taste in drinking water

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) — Residents of Bradley County have been experiencing a change in their water since late April. Cleveland Utilities has been investigating to determine the cause.

The company said this issues stems from an algae on the Hiwassee River.

The Hiwassee River is the primary water source for Cleveland Utilities.

The first stated on May 5 that they were evaluating the odor and taste changes in their water.

On May 17, they provided an update.

But Cleveland Utilities says since this issue has begun, they have still met drinking water standards.

Their recent tests revealed that the source of the unusual taste and odor comes from 2-methylisoborneol.

Cleveland Utilities says this compound and Geosmin are naturally occurring substances that are often found in surface water supplies. They are often found in lakes and reservoirs in the U.S.

Officials add that these compounds have an “earthy/musty taste and odor.” But the company says they are not harmful.

However, they continue to collect and analyze data alongside TVA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The utilities company says they have already implemented treatments for the water, but they are seeking additional treatment options as well.

They also issued this statement on the matter: “Since the City of Cleveland began using the Hiwassee River as a water source almost 70 years ago, CU has never experienced any taste and odor issues with the source water. CU is very proud of its history in providing quality drinking water to its valued customers. We are working diligently to improve the situation and will continue to keep you informed. As always, we care and appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through this issue.”

At the beginning of May, they stated that other utilities who get their water from the Hiwassee were experiencing the same issues.

Anyone with questions can call Cleveland Utilities at 423-472-4521.

Categories: Bradley County, Cleveland, Environment, Featured, Local News