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Algal Bloom May Effect Taste/Odor in Lake Manatee Reservoir


MANATEE COUNTY — Customers of Manatee County Utilities may notice a temporary and non-harmful change in their water taste or odor. Algae blooms are regular seasonal occurrences in Lake Manatee but vary in frequency and duration.

Current conditions favor a bloom, and tests conducted over the past several days indicate the presence of algae at elevated concentrations in Lake Manatee. This can create an earthy and/or musty taste or odor in the treated drinking water. While the odor or taste may be noticeable, the water remains safe to drink.  

“We will continue monitoring and conducting treatment efforts until water quality returns to normal,” said Manatee County Utilities Deputy Director Katie Gilmore. “It is our hope that by informing the public of this algal bloom, we can alleviate any concerns that may arise should a customer experience taste or odor issues in their drinking water.”  

Since the detection of these compounds in Lake Manatee, the County has implemented a treatment process that involves the addition of powdered-activated carbon. This process is very effective in the removal of taste and odor-causing compounds. However, when the levels reach quantities that exceed the limit of the systems' removal capability, customers may notice a slight earthy/musty taste to their water.  

The water remains entirely safe for consumption. If desired, customers can utilize a carbon filter hooked up to the faucet to the water system of the refrigerator or a filter pitcher designed for taste and odor removal to help minimize the off-taste and/or odor.  

For additional information or answers to frequently asked questions about this or other water quality issues, click here


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  • pattybeenutty

    Why is the county not adding specific chemicals to the drinking water before it reaches our homes? Is that too hard to do?

    Sunday, June 23 Report this

  • Charles

    Geosmin is the likly source . Supposedly, extra carbon filtration would eliminate it, given its regular issue, why wouldn't the county increase that filtration to remove it?

    Sunday, June 23 Report this

  • nellmcphillips

    I can’t say the County lies but they often do not supply the answer to the real problem that exists with Manatee County water supply. The water in Terra Ceia was reported as brown in color and yes we have odor issues but we have that year round. Residents of Terra Ceia have diligently reported to the County about water quality issues. The water quality issues being experienced this month are only partly due to algae blooms. Here in Terra Ceia at the end of the supply line or being at a great distance from the water source suffer from the drop off of chlorine levels in our pipes. Chlorine is essential to minimize bacteria in supply pipes. We have odor and color issues year round as the effectiveness of chlorine drops out by the time it reaches Terra Ceia. The effective levels of chlorine to kill bacteria in supply pipes drops off to less than minimal levels to fight bacteria. Of course algal blooms make it worse since so little chlorine cannot fight the poor water quality that occurs during algal blooms. The County’s answer has been to spill water constantly at several fire hydrants in Terra Ceia to bring more water and more chlorine. This action of waisting water is a crime when changes at the water supply plant or the use of chlorine injector wells into pipes where the chlorine levels naturally decrease are better options. Last summer while wasting water in Terra Ceia they also had to dump an entire water supply tower because there wasn’t enough chlorine in the tower to handle additional algal blooms. This inefficient management is thanks to the BOCC who won’t raise impact fees to deal with aging infrastructure in our water supply system. The algal blooms will continue and the continued promotion of development and the move to lessen wetland protection rules isn’t helping. Wetlands help with water quality in the watershed of the supply source. Your County is in trouble. Get out and vote and remove any incumbent you can. Be informed and vote for people that have your interest at heart and not their own interests.

    Sunday, June 23 Report this