Algal Bloom causes water quality issues in Columbia County

Columbia County

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) — Some people are complaining about the water quality in Columbia County. They say the water smells and tastes terrible. So NewsChannel6 reporter Devin Johnson reached out to the Columbia County Water Utility Administration Office. They say it’s because of the algal bloom from Clarks Hill Lake.

“Once the lake filled back up, it killed a lot of the vegetation growing along the banks, which resulted in an algal bloom, taste, and odor issues,” said Margaret Doss. “We’ve had them annually since. This bacteria and algae both have a toll-hold in the lake right now.”

In Columbia County, pipes running from the lake deliver water to the treatment plant, which brings water right to the faucet in your home or business. During the summer, the quality of the water changes. The compliance manager for the water utility administration office says it happens every year since the drought in 2013. However, this year could be different due to the impact of the rain we’ve gotten.

“With all of the extra rain that we’ve had, I don’t know how it’s going to impact it either, explained Doss. “Maybe we could have this until late September, or maybe we will get rid of it early because we got it so early.”


Some folks are also concerned about the water staining their clothes and making them sick. The compliance manager says there are no health effects from the water, and it’s safe to drink and bathe in. If your water is not clear and stains your clothes, that’s because of another particle called Manganese.

” We do have Manganese that we pre-treat for,” said Mark Inglett. “It’s an oxidize particle we try to settle out before it out it the system.”

Inglett says Columbia County is developing a new research plan to help solve this issue.

“We’re currently working on studies to do other advanced treatment methods,” said Inglett. “The new approach should come in the next year to help take care of this problem.”

In the meantime, there are several home methods you can try. Countertop water filters could help with the water’s quality.

“Generally, the refrigerated water tastes better than the water out of the tap,” explained Doss. “The cooler the water is, the better it is going to taste. I also know people who squeeze lemon juice in their water.”

You can also call the Columbia County Water Utility Administration Office. Someone will come to your home and flush the line. Inglett says continuous flushing might not solve the problem, but it can help clean the issue.

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