Algae may alter taste, smell of drinking water in Greater Victoria

Island Health reports no health risks from algae entering water system

The Capital Regional District Integrated Water Services says increased algae in the Sooke Lake Reservoir may potentially affect the taste and odour of Greater Victoria’s water, but note the water remains safe to drink.

Staff have observed increased levels of a golden-brown algae called uroglena in the Sooke Lake Reservoir in the last few days. The blooms were first noticed north of the intake tower, but the algae has moved closer to the intake and is entering the water system.

Uroglena can produce a fishy or metallic taste and odour, but Island Health has confirmed that the water remains safe to drink and the aesthetic taste and odour parameters are not a health concern.

The CRD reports that algae concentrations and locations in Sooke Lake Reservoir change with time, but they predict the current scenario to last a few days. In response, the CRD has adjusted the water intake to a deeper level in the reservoir, which is expected to improve the aesthetic water quality.

In the meantime, CRD staff are monitoring the quality and safety of the water closely and will keep the public informed of any potential health concerns or changes in water quality.

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