Algae blooms affect taste, smell of Shreveport water, city says

Ozone improvement project should make incidents like this infrequent, officials say
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 1:36 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2023 at 8:33 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Many residents of Shreveport are complaining about smelly and bad-tasting water. It comes from algae growing in Cross Lake, typically during the summer months.

The city Water & Sewerage Department has been letting customers know the water may have a bit of an unusual smell/taste due to algae blooms in Cross Lake. This is temporary, non-harmful change is a regular occurrence that varies in frequency and length.

“These algae blooms last just a couple of days, three or four days at the most,” said William Daniel, director of Water & Sewerage.

City officials say tests performed on the water show the presence of algae at elevated concentrations, which is causing an earthy taste and smell. Officials say while the taste and smell of the water is noticeable, there are no known health effects caused by these compounds.

“They just cause the water to taste and smell not desirable,” Daniel said.

The water department says they’ve been taking several measures to filter the water.

Since the testing was done, the water department has adjusted the chemicals to fix the issue. Customers should see an improvement in the coming days.

Anyone who’s still experiencing an issue should call the water quality lab at (318) 673-7654 to schedule a flush.

“We will flush. We’ll get the new water we’ve made in that does not have the algae taste and smell in it and that will help clear it up,” Daniel said.

The water department has already began flushing the water out of its system. It could be a few more days before the entire system’s water is back to normal.

“The last people to get it are, you know, those farthest from the plant,” Daniel explained. “The people who live closer, it clears up a lot faster.”

The water department reiterates that the water is completely safe to drink.

“We are monitoring the levels of algae and odorants and treating them until water quality returns to normal,” Daniel said. “We hope that by informing the public of the potential impact of the algae bloom, we can alleviate any concerns that customers may have if they notice an abnormal taste or smell to their water.”

The water department says with the completion of the $36.5 million T.L. Amiss Water Treatment Plant Ozone Improvement Project, customers should soon see a noticeable difference in the water. It won’t stop the algae from growing.

But once the system is fully operational, customers can expect incidents like this to be infrequent. That system should be fully operational by the end of October, officials said.

VIDEO: New ozone water system should improve taste and smell of Shreveport water

The city hopes to have the new ozone system up and running within the next seven days.