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Columbus, Ohio, invests $600,000 to fight foul odor in tap water

January 15, 2014
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The city of Columbus, Ohio, is to invest $600,000 in its water system in an attempt to eliminate "foul odors and flavors" from the tap water delivered to city residents.

Even though the problem does not present any health risks, according to officials with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the issue needs to be addressed. Over the past few weeks there have been more than 1,000 complaints filed by residents and businesses in the affected area.

Water from the Hoover Reservoir is supplied to about 500,000 customers. Engineers at the water company have not confirmed what causes the strange odor and flavors so far, the Ohio Dispatch reported. Currently the water is being treated with an unusually high amount of carbon, reaching five times the normal levels. The extra carbon that the city requires to treat the water is costing about $300,000 per month and the procedures are expected to continue until the issue is resolved, said Laura Young Mohr, commenting on behalf of the city's utilities department.

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Meanwhile, Erin Strouse, spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA, stated that the city was doing its best to deal with the problem, which was purely aesthetic. The state agency tested the water on December 19 and found that it did not pose any risk. A possible cause of the issue is a type of algae known as anabaena, which produces particular odors and flavors.

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