Musty tasting water happens seasonally in Tempe and Mesa

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If you've noticed a musty taste or smell to your water, you're not alone. Residents of both Mesa and Tempe have reported the change in their water.

According to Shannon Reed, the PIO for the City of Tempe, the issue is actually common and it happens seasonally. Reed said the water is safe to drink and that the problem is mainly aesthetic. 

"The water condition comes from organic compounds called Methylisoborneol (MIB) and Geosmin. These organics have absolutely no health effects -- their impact is merely aesthetic," Reed said.

The season when these organic compounds are more noticeable is during mid-August through early October. Reed said that some years are worse than others.

"...2017 appears to be the worst we've experienced," Reed said. But the City of Tempe is doing something about it.

Reed said the city uses a powder activated carbon (PAC) to absorb the compounds to reduce the musty taste and smell. The carbon is capable of absorbing up to 60 percent of the compounds.

The water concentrations reach up to 400 parts per trillion so treated water may still have concentrations exceeding 160 parts per trillion which is 16 times the taste threshold. 

Reed said that Water Quality Specialists are now testing daily from 8 distribution system locations, along with plants, to measure operational improvements and source water changes.

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