Lexington officials say water safe despite complaints of unusual smell, taste

Lexington officials say water safe despite complaints of unusual smell, taste

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Crews from the town of Lexington and West Columbia want to assure customers that recent tests of the water have showed it’s safe despite complaints from residents about their water having an unusual smell and taste.

Lexington officials said the issue is not a health concern. Officials said they test the water quality every day, and it is safe to drink.

The Town of Lexington said plant operators are working to combat the odor. (Story continues below.)

If your water has a different smell/taste, don't be alarmed. We wanted to update you as we are continuing to get...

Posted by Town of Lexington, SC on Friday, September 6, 2019

Officials say the issue is common during this time of the year because of the heat and algae in Lake Murray. Other plants that draw from the lake are seeing similar affects, officials said.

A Town of Lexington spokesperson tells WIS that the taste and smell is purely aesthetic and it is completely safe to drink and use. This is something that happens every year, but not to this extent.

Water officials said you’re likely noticing it because it’s been a longer duration event.

We spoke to University of South Carolina Professor Jay Pinckney who said that once the weather cools down, the taste and smell will likely go away.

The Town of Lexington also posted the following FAQs on its website about this issue:

Q: My tap water smells and tastes differently than it normally does, is it safe and okay to drink?

A: Yes. This is solely a smell and taste issue and not a health concern.

Q: Is the water safe to drink long term or is it just considered safe for a certain duration?

A: Yes, it is safe long term!

Q: How often do you test the water to ensure its safety?

A: The West Columbia plant tests the water on a daily basis. In addition to that, the Town of Lexington uses an independent lab to perform weekly testing.

Q: What is causing the tap water to smell and taste differently than it usually does?

A: The plant pulls water from Lake Murray. The hot weather has caused the water to remain at a warmer temperature for an extended amount of time which causes algae in the lake to bloom at a very rapid rate.

Q: Is the plant doing anything to try and get rid of the smell and taste?

A: Yes, they have increased carbon filtration to its maximum level, however it is still not able to overcome the increase in algae to the point where the water tastes like it normally does. Plant operators are considering alternative treatments and exploring different methods.

Q: When will the smell and taste get back to normal?

A: There is no way to put a specific timeframe on it, however as temperatures cool down, it will naturally help the situation. In the meantime, plant operators are exploring other options that will allow them to safely and effectively get the water back to normal.

Q: Are other cities around the area experiencing this?

A: Yes, other nearby cities that draw on Lake Murray to provide water are experiencing this issue as well to some degree.

Q: Can residents use the water for fish and turtle tanks?

A: Yes.

Q: Is the water safe to use for formula for infants

A: Yes.

Q: Will we receive any compensation?

A: No. But, if you’re using less water because of the taste and the smell, the amount of your water bill will go down.

Customers who want further answers should contact the Utilities Department at 803-358-7261.

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