For several days now, the drinking water provided by the Gainesville City Water Department hasn't tasted quite right. But, Linda MacGregor, the Director of the city's Department of Water Resources, says the water is completely safe.
"The most important piece of information is that the water is safe to drink," MacGregor said in a Friday afternoon interview on WDUN's Afternoon News Wrap. "It meets all the requirements for safe drinking water."
MacGregor said the unusual taste is the result of something called 'lake turnover.'
"Once or twice a year all lakes - including Lake Lanier - turn over. The warm water is on the top during the summer and as the temperatures cool, that water on the top cools and it sinks - and that turns the lake over," MacGregor said.
Typically, as the lake temperature transitions, the change in the water flavor is indiscernible, but for some reason, that's not the case this fall.
"The changes we're making to the treatment processes [in the water from Lanier] aren't making a full impact on controlling the taste and odor," MacGregor said. "We think that as the cool temperatures stabilize, the lake will stabilize and then this issue will go away."
MacGregor said there's no way to know how long that might take.
She said most customers who have called her office describe the taste of the water as "earthy" or "musty" but she emphasizes that the water is not harmful.
"We want to reiterate to everybody that it is safe to drink," MacGregor said. "The lake is a complex natural system, so temperatures, the amount of rain, the amount of sunlight - all of these things impact...the biological system in the lake. It's different every day."