Ottawa- Smelly Water Still Drinkable

Compounds released by plants and algae are to blame for the strange smell and taste of tap water in Barrhaven, but the City of Ottawa says there is nothing to be worried about.


The city has received a few calls from residents who have noticed a specific taste in their tap water. It is due to seasonal changes in the Ottawa river. The taste or odor is caused by trace levels of natural substances released by aquatic plants and event that happens every 2 or 3 years, and lasts a few weeks, this years event is made worse by the summer’s high temperatures.

The result is a earthy , grassy smell and taste…especially if the water is warmed up.  The taste of the water is affected , but their is no health risk. The water remains safe to drink.

The last time this happened was August and September 2015.

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