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A prolonged, severe algae bloom is causing ‘musty’ tap water for Regina, Moose Jaw consumers | CBC News


The tap water in the Regina and Moose Jaw areas might smell funky and taste a little off these days, but the people responsible for the water say it’s still safe to drink. 

There has been a prolonged and severe bloom of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) at Buffalo Pound Lake, which is where the tap water comes from,

“These organisms produce some compounds, chemical compounds, that produce the taste and odours that people describe as algae or musty,” said Blair Kardash, who is the laboratory manager at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant. 

“And periodically, particularly when we’re at maximum flows in the water treatment plant, our granular activated carbon system is not able to remove all of that taste and odour.”

About 270,000 people, or one-quarter of Saskatchewan’s population, get their water from the Buffalo Pound facility. The musty water was first noticeable earlier this year in the springtime.

Water samples from two different months lie side by side on paper.
Buffalo Pound Lake water samples from February (left) compared to water samples from August (right). (Blair Kardash/Submitted)

In the past, the plant would turn on additional carbon contractors to remove the odour from the water. However, that isn’t an option right now as the facility is undergoing renovations. 

Instead, the treatment plant is using a powdered activated carbon in the water. 

“It’s not as good as the granular activated carbon system,” Kardash said. “But when ozone and biologically activated carbon filters are put online after completion in September of next year, that system will enable us to have complete odour and taste control year-round.” 

The musty smell and taste people are experiencing now likely won’t go away until the end of October — when the weather gets colder. In the meantime, Kardash said people should not be concerned about consuming the water because it is safe to drink. 


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