Water may smell and taste different due to algae

Posted at 2:56 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 23:09:36-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Some folks living in Hampton Roads may be tasting water that's a little off.

The water distribution system in Portsmouth has a taste and odor "event" that is being caused by naturally occurring algae. The algae blooms in lakes and the city said they are taking action to take control of the change. The right combination of a specific water temperature and direct sunlight penetrating the water and algae starts growing really fast. The effect is water tasting a little earthy, or to some, like dirt.

Portsmouth officials said the water is safe to drink. Folks living in the Western Branch portion of Chesapeake get their water from Portsmouth reservoirs and some taste the difference.

"It tastes very earthy, slash dirty. It leaves a very bad aftertaste, it's pretty bad," said Chad Godwin, who drinks at least 10 cups of water a day. His family uses a filter and almost exclusively drink from there.

Carrie Whitlow told News 3 she noticed a change last week.

"Made myself a glass of water and I went to drink it and was like ...what's wrong?" said Whitlow.

The city of Chesapeake said, unfortunately, they can only react to the algae bloom and not prevent it. There isn't a timeline for when the earthy taste will leave.


Swimming-pool like water could be coming to Hampton Roads soon