Ekurhuleni - Ekurhuleni residents have been advised not to worry about the smell of their tap water because the odour is associated with warm temperatures being experienced in the municipality.
"Customers may have experienced an odour in water - this is due to the presence of geosmin that mostly occurs in the hot summer season. There is no need to be alarmed, the water is safe to drink," said Zweli Dlamini, the Acting Spokesperson for the City of Ekurhuleni on Thursday.
Geosmin is a naturally occurring compound produced by bacteria in soil and algae found in surface water.
"The intensity of these odours is related to the increased densities of blue-green algae that normally occurs on the water surface of the Vaal Dam during summer," explained Dlamini.
"Rand Water has put in place an extensive water quality-monitoring programme. Should there be an indication of an increase in frequency and duration of geosmin occurrences, precautionary measures will be taken to remedy the problem in due course."
Although geosmin is harmless, Dlamini said those with "a very sensitive receptor" for the flavour can offset the taste by using a carbon filter. While the filter may not eliminate the taste entirely, using one can improve the flavour and make water more palatable.
Dlamini also suggested investing in a reverse-osmosis water-treatment system. This is the most effective system for removing all geosmin from the water.
Another way to deal with the flavour is to simply cool the water in a fridge. "The colder water will make your taste buds less receptive to the flavour of geosmin (this is a temporary solution)."
Dlamini said customers are advised to visit www.reservior.co.za for more information on the water quality in their area.
African News Agency/ANA