Seasonal changes in taste and odour of tap water

​​Niagara residents who receive their drinking water from the Decew Falls Water Treatment Plant (residents of St. Catharines, Niagara-on the-Lake, Thorold and Lincoln) may notice a musty/earthy taste or odour in their tap water.

Changes in taste and odour are caused naturally by seasonal changes affecting the conditions of source water, with late August being a particularly common time to see these types of changes. These seasonal conditions can result in naturally occurring elements in the water that result in a musty/earthy smell and taste that may be detectable to some people at very low levels. Depending on weather conditions, these tastes and odours may continue for a couple of weeks.

While the temporary change in taste or odour may be noticeable to some, the tap water supplied by the municipal water supply systems remains safe to drink during these episodes and there is no health risk.

Niagara Region is making every effort to reduce the impact of the seasonal changes to source water. The Water Treatment Plants are equipped with filtration systems designed to reduce the effects of changes in taste and odour but may not always eliminate them entirely. The Region has increased the frequency of sampling to test for the parameters which affect taste and odour of drinking water and all results continue to be within the acceptable quality levels.

Residents who experience taste and odour issues with their tap water can use water pitcher filter systems to help reduce or eliminate the tastes and odours. Storing water in a loosely sealed glass container in the refrigerator for a period of time before drinking can also help.


Deanna Barrow
Niagara Region
905-980-6000 ext. 3543

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