SHARON, Pa. -- The Shenango Valley Division of Consumers Pennsylvania Water Co. is taking steps to reduce the "musty" taste or odor that its customers are finding in their tap water.
The problem has been traced to the sudden, rapid growth of algae, which are microscopic plants, in the Pymatuning Reservoir, which feeds the Shenango River nearly 30 miles upstream from the water company's water intake pipe at its plant here.
The taste and odor is caused by trace amounts of a natural compound produced by the algae, said Kenneth W. Baumann, Consumers vice president and division manager, explaining that the rapid plant growth was caused by warm fall and winter weather and little precipitation.
It isn't harmful to health and not all customers will notice the taste and odor, because some people are more sensitive to it than others, Baumann said.
It's also less noticeable in cold water, so customers might want to refrigerate their drinking water, he suggested.
Meanwhile, the water company has increased the amount of powdered activated carbon used in its water treatment process in an effort to control the problem, he said.
The company provides water to about 80,000 people in Mercer, Lawrence and Trumbull counties.