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Downriver-area water is safe to drink, depsite bad smell and taste, according to water authority

Jan 20, 2017

Metro Detroit's water authority is assuring people the water is safe to drink after some downriver Detroit-area residents noticed their drinking water tasted or smelled bad.

Despite the odd smell, taste, and in some cases discoloration of the water, the Great Lakes Water Authority has not found any troubling contaminants in the water samples it has tested.

Cheryl Porter, GLWA’s Chief Operating Officer, doesn't know exactly what caused the smell and taste, but said the complaints started after a river basin's biannual cleaning began.

“This was an unusual situation where there was an unusual amount of solids in the sedimentation basin that resulted in this particular event,” Porter said.

The GLWA received 119 complaints about the water, all of the complaints coming from residents who get their water from the Southwest Water Treatment Plant in Allen Park.

Sue McCormick, GLWA’s Chief Executive Officer, said the water has been safe to drink the entire time, but that residents would be notified if that were to change at any point.

“We would immediately notify the media. We would immediately notify our customer communities. There would be alerts to all citizens through various sources,” McCormick said, “and they would be advised at that point what was appropriate.”

The water authority officials couldn’t say with certainty what mineral was causing the smell and taste, but claim it is in the sulfur family.

According to McCormick, the water quality is now back to normal.