Grants Pass Tap Water Odor: City Says It’s Safe To Drinking

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The City of Grants Pass has reassured its residents who noticed an unpleasant smell in their tap water that they are working on finding the culprit, but it is safe to drink.


City of Grants Pass Working On Identifying Tap Water Smell

Grant’s Pass’s Water Filtration Plant Superintendent, Adam Smith, indicated that tests have been run to find the cause of the odor in the city’s tap water and confirmed that algae and cyanobacteria in water are not the underlying cause. Cyanobacteria are commonly known as blue-green algae. Smith confirmed that the city is still working to find the source of the smell.

The current concerns follow other water problems across Oregon, including the following, but no links have been established:


According to Smith, tap water taking on a different smell or taste is a pretty common occurrence. The naturally occurring terpenes in rivers and lakes, the city’s source of drinking water, are suspected to be the cause of the current smells.

He indicated that the odor can be reduced by replacing activated carbon filters on taps and filtration devices.


Cyanotoxins In Drinking Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has information about Managing Cyanotoxins- found inside cyanobacteria cells that find their way into public drinking water systems:

  • Algae toxins in drinking water
  • Algae toxins in recreational waters
  • Surface Water
  • Conventional water treatment such as chlorination, sedimentation, coagulation, and chlorination can generally remove cyanobacterial cells if they are still intact.


Smith confirmed that Grants Pass removes as much as it can from the water using a multi-barrier process. He said there are no toxins in the water.

Naturally occurring terpenes are found in some animals and plants, giving them their unique aromas, flavors, and even colors and it could be these terpenes giving the water a funky aroma.

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