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City identifies source behind change in odor, taste of Lubbock water

City of Lubbock water treatment (Source: KCBD Video)
City of Lubbock water treatment (Source: KCBD Video)
Updated: Apr. 4, 2019 at 9:22 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Residents in Lubbock have described a recent change in their water. They say it has been tasting and smelling fishy or earthy.

Wood Franklin, Division Director of Public Works for the City of Lubbock, said his department has received more than 80 complaints since February.

When the complaints first started coming in, Franklin said his team went to each home and tested the water to make sure it was safe to drink and determine where the smell was coming from.

The city has a diverse water supply, but Franklin said they tracked down the source to a compound called Geosmin, coming from the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, CRMWA.

“Recently, CRMWA, they were doing some maintenance on the water lines,” Franklin said. “Apparently, the internal storage reservoirs that they have to continue supplying water while they were working on those lines, those reservoirs got low and then as they filled them back up, it essentially stirred up some dead algae,” Franklin said.

The City of Lubbock already injects a carbon slurry into Lubbock’s water supply which helps with odor and taste. Franklin said now that they have determined there are no health risks associated with the change in water, they are injecting more of that carbon slurry to help get rid of the geosmin taste and smell.

He said there could also be another factor when it comes to the complaints coming out of Southwest Lubbock.

That area of the city uses a lot of water from Lake Alan Henry.

Map of Odor complaint locations from City of Lubbock. The city has received more than 80 calls...
Map of Odor complaint locations from City of Lubbock. The city has received more than 80 calls about the water since February. The color marks on the map are calls to the water department: RED – 02/18/19 to 03/03/19 GREEN – 03/04/19 to 03/17/19 BLUE – 03/18/19 to 03/31/19 PURPLE – 04/01/19 to Present

Franklin said that water line was shut down for maintenance last week, so residents are temporarily receiving water from Lake Meredith.

“It’s a different water than they have seen in the last couple of years. People notice change. That water supply (Lake Alan Henry) should be coming back on by next week,” Franklin said.

In the meantime, Franklin wants to reassure residents they have tested the water extensively and it is safe to drink.

However, if you have questions about the water where you live, Franklin said his department is happy to answer questions.

Just call 311 or contact the water department directly at 775-2588.

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