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Dying algae gives Wichita’s water unpleasant odor, taste

A seasonal algae die off at Cheney Reservoir has given Wichita’s water an unpleasant smell and taste, city officials say. Adjustments have been made at the water treatment plant.
A seasonal algae die off at Cheney Reservoir has given Wichita’s water an unpleasant smell and taste, city officials say. Adjustments have been made at the water treatment plant. File photo

Yes, Wichita’s water smells and tastes funny.

No, it’s not going to hurt you.

That’s the word from city officials, who confirmed the unpleasant taste and foul odor on Thursday. They said it’s due to “seasonal changes in Cheney Reservoir,” which is one of two primary sources of drinking water for Wichita.

The reservoir is experiencing the seasonal die off of algae, which releases a compound called geosmin into the water. Geosmin can cause unpleasant odors and affect taste, officials said.

The change in water chemistry was detected, prompting an adjustment in the water treatment process to account for the geosmin.

The city’s drinking water should return to the normal standard over the next four days, officials said.

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