The Great Lakes Water Authority said on Wednesday they have pinpointed the cause of foul smelling and tasting water in Downriver cities.
CEO Sue McCormick released a statement that said that the sulfurous taste and odor in water in Downriver communities was caused by a temporary spike in turbidity levels - water with a significant amount of particulates.
In the statement, the GLWA says the levels were increased at the beginning of the treatment process and are associated with the normal cleaning of the settling basins.
GLWA said once they discovered that cleaning of the settling basins was contributing to the taste and odor problems, the immediately stopped cleaning. That was on Thursday, January 12.
Some of the water did leave the plant and entered the distribution center with sulfurous tastes and odors. Staff put powdered activated carbon into the system to help mitigate the issue and begin to bring relief to our customer communities.
The GLWA said "at no time did were there any health or safety concerns" and that the odorous taste and smell were all harmless.
FOX 2 spoke with several Downriver residents last week about the water. They said that the problems had caused several dogs to be sick and required treatment for a bacterial infection. CLICK HERE to read that story.
Here's the full statement from the GLWA:
"After a thorough review, GLWA has identified the principle cause of the taste and odor issue that several Downriver communities have been experiencing since late last week. The Authority has also established protocols that will prevent the issue from occurring again.
At no time were there any health or safety concerns.
It should be noted that throughout the entire taste and odor situation, the GLWA Water Quality Team has been conducting not only standard bacteriological testing, but also additional testing for toxicity and volatile organic chemicals. All test results have met the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act Regulatory standards.
The Authority's Southwest Water Treatment Facility (SW Facility) is the primary location from which Downriver communities are served, and therefore our investigation began at that facility.
GLWA has concluded that the SW Facility experienced a temporary spike in turbidity levels (water with a significant amount of particulates) in the water at the beginning of the treatment process and associated with the normal cleaning of its settling basins.
Once staff determined that the cleaning of the settling basins could be a contributing factor to the taste and odor issues, the cleaning of the basins was immediately stopped (approximately noon on Thursday, January 12, 2017). However, some of the water treated during this timeframe left the plant and entered the distribution system with sulfurous tastes and odors.
Facility staff then began feeding powdered activated carbon into the system to help mitigate the issue and begin to bring relief to our customer communities. Staff also instituted an enhanced schedule of water quality testing to ensure that there is not a reoccurrence of the taste and odor issue.
These actions have resulted in a significant decrease in the number of complaints being received by GLWA.
In order to assure complete mitigation of the issue, on Monday, GLWA began implementation of a systematic flushing plan to clear the remainder of the water treated during the cleaning of the settling basins from its system. Staff will continue flushing until the situation is resolved.
The Authority is also reaching out to affected customer communities to offer assistance in flushing out their local systems. GLWA will cover the cost of any volume increases associated with flushing activities in the impacted communities.
GLWA remains committed to providing our customer communities with water of unquestionable quality."