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Odor in the Water? It's Mother Nature and Springtime

By Harold Bearden
Sunday, May 3, 2015 | 5:05 AM

Morgan Williams and his family enjoyed the sunshine and swimming on Bear Creek Lake Sunday

For over two weeks, the tap water in this area has had an earthy odor which is apparent when you shower, brush your teeth or even drink coffee and tea. The good news is, it is not man made. Blame it on mother nature. The short answer is, Bear Creek Lake has "turned over" and the smell of the bottom of the lake has permeated the water system and left us with the odor. With the change in seasons and temperatures, the lake water at the bottom has "floated" to a different depth. All part of nature.

Robert Blake, Chairman of the Upper Bear Creek Water Authority, where the cities of Haleyville, Bear Creek and Phil Campbell get their water, stated the odor was first noticed approximately three weeks ago. Workers at the water filtration plant just south of the Bear Creek Lake dam switched intakes in order to find a level in the lake to extract water less contaminated with the odor and plant life. Normally the water is pulled from approximately a 35 foot level. This process was tried and changed several times, along with additional chemical treatments added to the water. The latest tests revealed the level of odor has dropped to approximately 25% of what it was two weeks ago and still declining. 

Lane Bates with the Haleyville Water Department said he planned to "flush the system" soon in order to clear any residual odorized water once he received an all clear from Upper Bear Creek Water Authority. Many have switched to bottled water during this period and hopefully we will be back to normal soon.

Meanwhile, with sunny skies for a week, the lake is open for recreational use and the odor at the lake is not as readily apparent as it is at the tap. 

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