February 20, 2014

Taste and Odor Episode Due to Runoff from Recent Snowmelt

Des Moines Water Works uses both the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers as water sources. By using surface water, seasonal variations can occur. The recent warm-up in temperatures has caused increased runoff into our water supply, requiring Des Moines Water Works to use more chlorine to achieve the desired chlorine levels in the finished product.

Both rivers are currently experiencing elevated levels of ammonia. Disinfection with chlorine is more difficult when ammonia is present in source waters. Ammonia consumes chlorine, leaving it unavailable for disinfection. This requires addition of extra chlorine to eliminate the ammonia and maintain adequate disinfection. For these reasons, chlorine levels have been purposefully higher for the past three weeks. Chlorine levels in the water leaving Des Moines Water Works’ treatment plants are monitored continuously to ensure they do not exceed the maximum allowable limit set by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Finished drinking water from Des Moines Water Works is safe to consume. Some people are more sensitive to these subtle changes in taste or odors. These conditions will improve as the weather stabilizes and levels of runoff decrease.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 4 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Source Water, Water Quality, Water Treatment

4 Responses to “Taste and Odor Episode Due to Runoff from Recent Snowmelt”

  1. March 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm, Mark Langgin said:

    There is now a persistent bad odor along with chlorine water smell. Is this normal for spring? Can someone check it out?

    411 60th Street DSM


    • March 16, 2014 at 7:39 pm, Laura Sarcone said:

      Hi, Mark
      Someone from our water quality team should be contacting you soon.


  2. March 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm, Jamie Corbin said:

    How much longer will this chlorine smell be in the water? Is it safe to drink, it stinks!

    We live in Johnston.

    Thank you.

    Jamie Corbin


    • March 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm, Laura Sarcone said:

      Ammonia and Total Organic Carbon levels are improving in the source water, so we hope that in a week or so this episode should be behind us.


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