The City of Bloomington Public Works Department is committed to providing residents with a safe and reliable supply of high-quality drinking water. We test our water using sophisticated equipment and advanced procedures. The City of Bloomington Public Works Department’s water meets state and federal standards for both appearance and safety. This annual “Consumer Confidence Report,” required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), tells you where your water comes from, what our tests show about it, and other things you should know about drinking water.
Water is lead-free when it leaves the treatment plant, but lead can be released when the water comes in contact with pipes and plumbing fixtures that contain lead. Lead sources and lead levels vary between buildings, so it is important to identify and remove any lead sources in each household. The below documents and video provide additional information to address this issue.
- Bloomington's Safe Water
- Understanding Lead & Water
- Types of Water Pipes
- Water Filter Guide
- Homeowner Check List
The Public Works Water Division receives inquiries from time to time regarding a seasonal taste and odor change in the drinking water. The following is information they’d like to share with you, in case you have questions also:
In addition to making sure our water is safe to drink, the City of Bloomington works hard to meet customer expectations for water’s aesthetic characteristics—its taste, odor, and appearance.
Unpleasant tastes and odors are the most common cause of customer concerns, however most contaminants that cause aesthetic problems in drinking water are not considered a threat to human health.
Is my water safe to drink?
Yes. All laboratory tests have shown the water meet all water quality guidelines for health standards. Although the water has an off taste, it is safe to drink. It is suggested that the water be chilled before drinking.
What is making my water taste bad?
Algal compounds called Geosmin (pronounced gee oz min) and methyl iso-borneol (referred to as MIB) found in naturally occurring blue green algae have been identified as the cause for the taste and odor.
Is there anything I can do to make the water taste better?
Yes. The water tastes better if it sits for some time and is chilled. Therefore, setting a pitcher in
the refrigerator will help to some degree. Adding a slice of lemon to the water
sometimes helps as well.
Will a home charcoal filter help?
Perhaps to some degree but it will probably not remove the taste or odor entirely. The charcoal in a home filter uses the same material (granular activated carbon) as the water treatment plant does. The water
treatment plant carbon removes most, but not all, of the taste and odor causing compounds.
Why hasn't this happened before?
It has. But the water treatment plant has the capability to remove most taste and odor causing compounds from the water.
Will you take some money off my water bill because I had to buy bottled water?
No, because each home has different water consumption patterns and it is impossible to say how much water is or is not consumed. Only a very small portion of the water bill is for water that is consumed. The rest is for bathing, toilet flushing, cooking and the like. Also a portion of the water bill is for fire protection.
Why can't you just switch to another supply of water?
Because Bloomington only has water available from Lake Bloomington or Evergreen Lake and both of those lakes have the taste and odor compounds in them.
When will the water taste better?
The carbon filters at the water treatment plant continue to remove most of the compounds. However, it is still unknown how long this event will last. The important thing to remember is the water is safe to drink.
What has the Public Works Department done to correct this problem?
The flow through the water plant has been slowed to allow the carbon filters to do a better job of removing the taste and odor compounds.