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What is that stinky smell in NC city’s water, and should you drink it?

What is that stinky smell and foul taste in the city of Concord’s water?

Many customers are complaining about a “strong odor and taste” in the municipal water in their taps, Peter Franzese, Concord public affairs and projects manager, said in a news release on the city’s website Friday.

An algal bloom in the city of Albemarle’s Tuckertown Reservoir is to blame, according to the release.

Concord partners with Albemarle to supply water from the reservoir primarily to customers in the southeast part of Concord’s service area, Franzese said in the release.

Although the water has an “unpleasant odor,” it’s safe to drink, he said.

Warm weather intensifies the smell, but “but Concord staff have and continue to test the water to ensure it is safe and meets all regulatory requirements,” according to Friday’s release.

As Albemarle continues to treat the odor and bad taste, Franzese said, Concord is trying to reduce the amount of water from its neighbor “until the situation is resolved.”

Concord officials would strain their water system by simply stopping the flow from Albemarle, Franzese said. Concord, however, is increasing production at its water treatment plants to dilute the Albemarle water, he said.

Officials hope recent and expected rain will help push the bloom downstream, Franzese said.

“ ... While certainly unpleasant for customers, the smell is an aesthetic issue,” he said. “It is not a stagnation problem or a water quality issue ...”

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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