What causes the "musty" taste and odor in the water?

The Village of Oak Brook Water Department typically receives an increase in taste and odor complaints during the summer months when water temperatures increase. Most complaints generally are that the water has an earthy, musty smell and taste. This is generally the result of compounds produced by blue-green algae and other vegetation found in Lake Michigan. Taste and odors may be more noticeable when the lake water gets warmer. Refrigerating the water will minimize the taste and odors. The presence of taste and odors does not affect the safety of the drinking water. The Chicago Water Department adds powdered activated carbon (PAC) to the water at the Jardine Water Purification Plant. The application rate of PAC is based upon the concentration of water vegetation and the number of taste and odor complaints received.

Residents are urged to contact the village with any taste and odor complaints. Once received, they are forwarded to the DuPage Water Commission, who then logs them with the City of Chicago Water Department. When there is a rise in complaints, they increase their treatment. However, due to the distance, it takes approximately 24 hours for the DuPage Water Commission to receive the water. It then takes another 24 hours to get into the village’s distribution system. We also suggest residents refrigerate their drinking water. The decreased temperature helps alleviate the problem.

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1. Where does my water come from?
2. What causes the "musty" taste and odor in the water?
3. Why does my water sometimes smell or taste like chlorine?
4. What do you test for in the water?
5. How can I have my water tested?
6. Do water filters work and should I use one?
7. Do I need to treat the water before I use it for my fish?
8. Does the water contain fluoride?
9. How hard is my water and should I use a water softener?
10. Do I have radon in the water?
11. Why does my water get milky white?
12. Why are there water restrictions?
13. Who should I contact for billing questions?
14. Who should I contact about my water pipes or water meter?