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Algal bloom affects taste/odor in Lake Manatee Reservoir

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MANATEE COUNTY – Customers of Manatee County Utilities may notice a temporary and non-harmful change in their water taste or odor. Algae blooms are regular seasonal occurrences in Lake Manatee but vary in frequency and duration. Current conditions favor a bloom, and tests conducted over the past several weeks indicate the presence of blue-green algae at elevated concentrations, which has imparted an earthy and/or musty taste or odor in the water. While the odor or taste may be noticeable, there are no known health effects caused by the presence of these compounds.

Since the detection of the compounds, Manatee County has implemented a treatment process that involves the addition of powdered-activated carbon. This process effectively removes the compounds and minimizes impacts on customers’ water. It is only when the levels reach quantities that exceed the limit of our removal capability that our customers may notice a slight earthy/musty taste to their water.

The water remains entirely safe for consumption. Though not necessary, customers can use a carbon filter hooked up to the faucet to the water system of the refrigerator or a filtrated pitcher system to help minimize the off-taste and/or odor.

“We are monitoring the levels of algae and odorants and treating for them until water quality returns to normal,” said Katie Gilmore, Utilities Deputy Director. “It is our hope that by informing the public of this potential impact of the algal bloom, we can alleviate any concerns that may arise should a customer detect an earthy taste or smell to their water."

For more information about Manatee County Government, visit or call (941) 748-4501. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ManateeGov.