I've seen posts in my neighborhood Facebook group about funky-tasting tap water... does yours seem off?

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I haven't noticed the water being icky at my house, but at a restaurant a few weeks ago I did have a glass of water that tasted... I dunno, old? Kinda musty? So yeah, I was then forced to get a beer instead- haha.

Well, in a recent post to Facebook, the City of Grand Rapids shares what might be going on with the water. They say, "Flavor fluctuations are common across municipalities that pull from natural bodies of water."

Grand Rapids water comes from Lake Michigan, which, as you might know, in the summertime can experience algae blooms.

According to the CDC:

Algae and cyanobacteria are simple organisms that live in the water. Algae and cyanobacteria can rapidly grow out of control, or “bloom,” when water is warm, slow-moving, and full of nutrients.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association shares:

Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal.


It's not just the algae that can affect the taste, it's the process the City of GR uses to then treat the water.

Here's how they explain it,

To respond to this change [in the summer] we adjust our treatment process by adding activated carbon. The carbon helps to reduce unwanted tastes and odors. The process of adding carbon itself can change the taste and odor of the water. People's sense of taste and smell differ, so some people may notice changes while others may not.

That's why you might think the water tastes funky, but someone else thinks it's perfectly fine. The City of GR continues:

The musty/earthy smell or taste is still safe to drink. Our chemists verify our water quality many times every day, 365 days a year. Grand Rapids water meets all the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. We take samples at the plant and throughout the system. They all meet the Safe Water Drinking Act standards.

That said, if you still think there might be something going on with the quality of your water, the City wants to know. You can contact them with any concerns by calling 311 or 616.456.300 or emailing info@grcity.us.

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