Providence water customers should expect to see the smell and odor problems they’ve recently experienced clearing up within the next seven days, according to Bob Cashion with S4 Water Sales and Service, the company hired to help the city improve their water quality.
A crew from the Bowling Green-based company began treating the Providence City Lake with Algaecide on Monday. Cashion said the chemcial, which is approved for use in drinking water, should aleviate the problem by the first of next week by killing much of the algeae that is causing the odor and smell.
“The taste and odor issue are algea related,” he said. “Diatoms are a form of algea. The chemistries they add at the water plant to help with the quality of water are affected by different things that are in the raw water.”
Diatoms are a naturally occuring life form that appears in most water sources, usually becoming most problematic in the spring. The mild winter the area has experienced, however, has allowed the algea to flurish when it normally would have been dormant.
“It could have been a whole lot worse than what its been,” said Cashion. “It started when they had the main breaks (in November and December). Those breaks broke some organics loose in the distribution system that caused an increase in the chlorine demand. When there is a chlorine demand, some chloriorganic compounds are formed, and they cause the taste and odor. Eliminating that chlorine demand eradicates it.”
Cashion said the city has also been working over the last week to increase the water level in the lake, raising the water level by close to four feet. That, too, he said would help cut down on the problem.
He explained that sunlight will reach around three to four foot into the lake water. With water levels being lower, that meant there were more areas in the shallow end of the lake where plant life on the bottom of the lake was being allowed to flurish.
“We do this for lots of people,” Cashion said. “Especially for customers who use a lot of returned processed waters, like the distillaries. Jim Beam, we treat all of there systems. But its very unusual (to be doing it) at this time of the year.”
S4 will be back to treat the lake again between February 12 and 14, but he expects to see the odor and taste problem under control before then.
This isn’t the first time that organic water in the Providence City Lake has caused the city problems. In 2017 the city recieved a number of violations for water when plantlife in the water being pumped out of the lake reacted badly with the treatment process, although those reactions did not affect the odor and taste of the water.
During that period the water never tested bad, but chemical levels reached a point where the city had to issue public notices.
Cashion and S4 aided the city through that issue by helping them reduce much of the excess plant life from the lake.
City officials urge residents who continue to experience water issues to consider draining their water heaters. Following water main breaks, organic material and debris released into the water system can sometimes collect in the tank and will continue to cause odor and taste issues even after the problem is fixed.
Reach MATT HUGHES
at 270-667-2068 or