Moline's water department is close to getting city water back to its normal smell and taste.|
The city said the problem is aesthetic and the water is safe to drink and use.
Water plant manager Dave Owens said last week's snow melt and heavy rains washed nitrogen and ammonia compounds into the Mississippi River.
Moline uses chloramine as a disinfectant, and chloramine includes ammonia and chlorine. Because there was too much ammonia in the river water, it caused the bad taste and smell in the city water, Mr. Owens said.
It takes time to see ammonia levels are too high and once it was realized, the water department began addressing the problem, he said."We do apologize. This hit us so fast we had to scramble to get it under control."
As the ammonia is removed from the disinfectant system, care has to be taken not to lose too much chlorine, Mr. Owens said. "Our No. 1 concern is to make sure the water is safe."
He said the water he tasted in the lab Wednesday morning was pretty good and almost back to normal.
"This is a problem we see almost every spring when the snow melts, and it takes a little longer to get under control."