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City of Fort Wayne provides drinking water ‘gauge’ for consumers

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – What’s something you rely on every single day? Water, of course. Making sure it’s safe to drink is a big priority for any city. Have you ever taken a sip of water that was perfect, no taste or smell? What about some that tasted or smelled a little different? What is causing that? Is it safe to drink?

An average of 33 million gallons of drinking water are produced each day at the Fort Wayne Water Filtration Plant.
Employees are here around the clock to make sure your water is safe to consume.
Chances are though, you’ve noticed taste or odor in your drinking water at some point.
Water Quality Supervisor, Vicky Zehr says, “For taste and odor, carbon is the main chemical that we use. It’s specifically powdered activated carbon. The problem with it is it only can remove so much.”
The water source for Fort Wayne is the St. Joseph River, which winds through southern Michigan and northwest Ohio before coming into Fort Wayne.
“Sometimes, we are just inundated with organic material from a runoff that no amount of carbon can get rid of,” says Zehr.
At this website, you can learn why your water tastes or smells the way it does.
Some of the categories include metallic, salty, earthy or musty, and like a swimming pool.
Under each category, you’ll get a description of why it’s that way.
Frank Suarez of Fort Wayne Public Works says, “We put that page out there basically because sometimes it confuses people, and we wanted them to have that information so that they could understand.”
The warming up of the spring and the cooling down of the fall causes what is called turn over of the water, essentially mixing everything.
That usually means adding more carbon to the river water that is brought in.
The carbon usually takes 8-12 hours to take effect before it is available to be used.
“If there is a change, sometimes it maybe is just a smell, and maybe the smell changes, but the taste is pretty consistent, and our chemists are really good about letting us know that and so we will make a change,” says Suarez.
A taste or odor doesn’t mean water is unsafe to drink.
Zehr says, “We test it six times a day for bacteria. Usually what customers are concerned about is the bacteria. Other things that they’re concerned about are the chlorine level, and the taste and odor.”

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson is the Weekend Meteorologist at Fort Wayne’s NBC. You can catch Jon’s weekend forecasts on Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11 p.m.

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