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Earthy & Musty

The source of the odor is naturally occurring algae in the reservoirs. The algae produces a chemical that smells earthy or musty. Admittedly, having the smell in tap water creates concerns about the safeness of Pawhuska's water.

Water Safety
Pawhuska water is safe. The water treatment plant removes the micro-organisms, such as algae, and other contaminants and disinfects and filters the water. This makes the water safe. However, some of the odor was able to get past the treatment plant, resulting in smelly tap water. Although the odor makes the water unpalatable, it does not mean the water is unsafe.

Removal by the Water Treatment Plant

  • Adsorption - Adsorption uses activated carbon, like that found in in-home filters. The odors attach to the activated carbon and the carbon is then removed during the treatment process.

However, if even small amounts of the odor escape the treatment process, we can still smell it in our homes and businesses.

Removal by Customers
Some customers have had success using an in-home filter that contains activated carbon. Because much of the odor is removed at the water treatment plant, the filter can act as a polishing step and remove the rest of the odor.

Additional Information
For more information, please fill out and submit our online Contact Us Form or call (918) 287-3260.

Pawhuska, Oklahoma • 118 W. Main • P.O. Box 539 • Pawhuska, OK 74056 • (918) 287-3040 •
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