Fort Wayne city water users worry about smelly, dirty water

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne City Utilities customers say something isn’t right with city water.

“It smells like dirty, mud water,” Alice Luebke said.

“It almost tastes like I have mold in it,” Jeffrey Wilson said.

Luebke, in fact, said that for a few weeks, the smell and taste of her water has been so unbearable that she’s decided to boil it.

“It’s a big inconvenience because you can’t take a shower because it smells so bad that when you’re done you stink worse than when you got in the shower,” she said.

Wilson, a downtown Fort Wayne resident, said he has similar problems.

“People don’t want to drink it. It makes your clothes smell bad, you know, making ice cubes for your drinks,” he said.

The city’s water quality supervisor, Vicky Zehr, told NewsChannel 15 on Tuesday that the department is dealing with a taste and odor problem, but it’s nothing uncommon.

Zehr said organic materials in the river are the cause.

“Whether it be from sticks, from leaves, from dirt, any disruption in our river will cause us to have a disruption in that natural organic material,” said Zehr.

While the water may be unappetizing, Zehr said that doesn’t mean the water isn’t safe.

“That natural organic material will produce some byproducts that stink. They’re not unsafe; we physically remove all the harmful chemicals and bacteria from the water unfortunately some of those odors remain,” she said.

Water quality officials use carbon to get rid of the smell and taste. As of Tuesday afternoon, though, they’ve used the maximum amount.

“There’s a big load of odor in our river water right now and the carbon doesn’t seem to be satisfying 100 percent of the odors,” said Zehr.

So now, it’s a waiting game.

“You know Mother Nature has its way of being on her own time and right now our current test results show that is still has a little bit of odor to it and a taste to it,” said Zehr.

Zehr said while the water is safe to drink, if the smell or taste is too strong, residents can put it in the refrigerator for a bit. As the water chills, the odor and taste dissipate, Zehr said.

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