LOS ANGELES (June 20, 2017) – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is notifying customers in the San Fernando Valley that they may begin to notice an earthy or musty odor in their water supply. The odor is not a cause for health concern and is associated with seasonal algae growth in the Owens Valley due to large amounts of rainfall this year. A strain of blue-green algae known as Anabaena produces the odorous compound and makes an unwelcomed appearance each year during the summer season. The algae are common to water systems all over the world.
The City-owned Los Angeles Aqueduct transports water to Los Angeles from the Owens Valley. It is a key source of supply for Angelenos and is expected to meet about 70 percent of the City’s water needs this year. LADWP is closely monitoring algae growth along the Los Angeles Aqueduct to bring the nuisance algae under control. Some blue-green algae produce toxins that can cause human health impacts, however, regular monitoring and testing do not show any detectable level associated with the current algae bloom. Algae blooms often die off quickly and chemical treatment options must be balanced against potential environmental and other impacts. But LADWP will take steps to eliminate the algae if levels continue to algae increase.
LADWP Director of Water Quality, Albert Gastelum stated, “We hope to minimize any inconvenience to our customers. Carbon filters, like tap or pitcher filters, can reduce the odor. We are committed to resolving the algae problem as expeditiously as possible and will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.”
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