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Environment & Climate Change

Water authority says it's found cause of odor, taste problems in Downriver drinking water

Detroit's Water Works Plant.
Great Lakes Water Authority
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Detroit's Water Works Plant.

Residents of Downriver Detroit communities have reported since last week that their tap water smells and tastes like sulfur.

Great Lakes Water Authority officials said the problem has been traced to a temporary spike in water particulates during a routine cleaning of the settling basins at the GLWA's Southwest Water Treatment plant. 

In a written statement, Sue McCormick, CEO of the GLWA, said the cleaning was immediately stopped, and powdered activated carbon was fed into the system to help "mitigate the issue and begin to bring relief to our customer communities." She also said the GLWA has implemented a system-wide flushing process, and "staff will continue flushing until the situation is resolved."

"These actions have resulted in a significant decrease in the number of complaints being received by GLWA," McCormick wrote.

"At no time were there any health or safety concerns," wrote McCormick .

GLWA officials underscore that the water is safe.

"In all of the expanded testing results that we have received thus far, there have been no result indicating anything wrong with the water," said Cheryl Porter, COO of the GLWA.

Porter said the results of both regular and enhanced water quality testing have met federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards.

Porter said the test results will be made available to the public.