Weedy water

It’s the time of year when the water in the lakes formed by impounding the Colorado River begins to turn over. As the topmost layers cool, they begin to sink to the bottom. The layers that had been on the bottom all summer begin to rise to the top. In the course of the process, the river bottom is disturbed. When the exchange coincides with heavy rainfall, Austin drinking water can smell peculiar. The flavor’s not tempting, either. The water utility has been forced to issue a press release about the water flowing from household taps. It comes as a surprise to some new Austin residents to learn that their water comes from Town Lake or from Lake Austin. People who have called the water utility (972-1000) are sometimes being told to flush out their water lines by letting the water run for a while both from inside taps and from outside hose bibs. Someone who spoke to a worker flushing out a hydrant late yesterday was told that it will be about 48 hours before the off taste and off flavor are no longer evident. The word is that the City water department has been receiving about 200 calls a day on this subject. The taste was initially evident late last week to some; others first noticed it on Monday, when the smell became stronger. This year seems to be the worst one in at least three decades.

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