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Some Durham residents complaining about foul faucet water, but city says it’s OK to drink

May 17, 2019 GMT

Some Durham residents say what’s coming out of their taps not only tastes bad but smells bad, an odor they describe as swampy or earthy.

Municipal officials say the H2O is safe to drink, but residents who complain about it say they don’t want to.

“It does not smell good,” said Kim Murdock. “It really doesn’t.”

After taking a sip, she says, “That does not taste good.”

Murdock is one of many residents in Durham who has noticed the issue with water from her faucet in the last week or so.

“At first, I thought it might be a smell that was coming from our garbage disposal, to be totally honest” she said. “It was that nasty.”


City officials said the issue’s origins are at the municipal water supply -- underneath the surface.

Authorities link it to an increase in algae at the Little River Reservoir and in Lake Michie caused by warmer weather.

City officials say the water is safe to drink, and staffers are treating the water with copper sulfate to try and get it back to normal.

Hundreds of people have called to report the issue, which is what City Hall wants so they know where to go and flush the lines.

They expect relief in a matter of days.

Murdock said she can’t wait.

“I like natural water to swim in, but I don’t like it coming out of the faucet,” she said.