Algae outbreak blamed for stinking up Larimer County town's drinking water

Posted at 2:26 PM, Aug 03, 2017

WELLINGTON, Colo. – Officials from the northern Colorado town of Wellington are blaming an algae outbreak for the cause of the town’s recent drinking water woes.

For weeks, residents of the Larimer County town have been complaining about a foul odor and taste coming from their faucets. The taste is being described as “earthy.”

Town officials said this week that the earthy taste and smell residents have been complaining about is linked to a significant algae bloom at Reservoir #3.

The town says at the height of the outbreak, geosmin levels were three times higher than ever recorded. Geosmin is an organic compound known to create an earthy flavor and aroma in drinking water. The town stresses that geosmin is harmless.

Water operators in the town have been treating the reservoir and flushing the distribution system to reduce the level of geosmin in the water. Testing this week showed a significant decrease in the detectable level of the compound.