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As many of our customers have noticed over this past weekend we are experiencing a taste and odor event at Otter Lake. Let me begin with assuring you the water is completely safe to drink. 


Taste and odor in surface water is often the result of a blue green algae bloom in a lake. The Commission has a multi prong approach of dealing with algae blooms in Otter Lake, however there is no silver bullet to completely resolve this issue. Blue green algae prefers water bodies that are slow moving, with nutrients and a good light source. 


Our watershed plan is a detailed look at each piece of property within the watershed, we use this plan to help identify best management practices for landowners and often are able to use grant funds to help landowners convert to those practices. These practices help reduce nutrients in the water coming in the runoff from adjoining landowners property and into Otter Lake. The Commission has been very successful with our shoreline erosion control program. This program uses IEPA 319 grant funds for rip rap and tree planting around the shore of Otter Lake, reducing the shoreline erosion which contributes to sedimentation and nutrients into the lake from our own shores. The Otter Lake currently has 5 solar power destratisfires known as Solar Bees. These units continually move water within the water column to disrupt the growth of blue green algae.


The water treatment process begins with the addition of powder activated carbon to adsorb the taste and odor compounds, the filters further remove these compounds, finally the water is treated with UV light and an advanced oxidation process. Each of these steps serve a purpose in reducing taste and odor in the finished water. Unfortunately there are times that these steps will not completely remove all taste and odor compounds from the drinking water. The water plant personal will continue to use every available technology to limit these events as much as possible.