FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Mother Nature hasn’t done much this year to dilute the runoff that ends up in our rivers. The funny smell and taste of Fort Wayne’s water all started with a slower than normal snow melt and very little rainfall in recent weeks.
Last Thursday, workers at Fort Wayne’s water treatment plant started seeing much cloudier water than usual. They’re always measuring the raw turbidity of the water, which is the haziness of water caused by individual particles.
They started using higher levels of chlorine to adjust for the taste and smell of the water and that’s when residents complained.
“People might be concerned, asking why are different people complaining about different odors and tastes?” said Vicki Zehr, supervisor for the Three Rivers Filtration Plant. “It’s because our pallets are different. If you’re a smoker you’re not going to smell or taste the water as sensitively as someone who is a non-smoker. If you’re on certain medications you might be sensitive to a particular odor.”
Chemists are smell and taste testing the water multiple times a day and they say it is getting significantly better. At its highest level since Thursday the treatment plant used about 2.0 parts per million of chlorine to treat the water.
EPA regulations allow a maximum chlorine level of 4.0 parts per million, and so the water has always been safe to use.
“We starting flushing Saturday and the reason we waited until then was to make sure the water quality we were putting back in was getting better and we could see that improvement,” said John Clark, deputy director of capital assets for Fort Wayne. “We started in the outer rings of the city on the big mains and we tapped very close to those at a very high rate to get that water out. We’ll continue to flushing all week probably even into next week.”
It may take a while for better water to make its way to your faucet because the smelly water has to make its way out of city pipes first. If you don’t mind spending the extra money, run your water more than usual to flush out the smelly water in your pipes and before taking a shower, run the water on cold for a while before turning it to hot. Heat only intensifies the odor in the water.