Horrible smell plagues Austin Water

Some people in Austin were dealing with stinky water, Thursday. Despite the stench, the city said it's safe to drink.

Austin Water said they found zebra mussels in a raw water pipeline at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant. This plant mostly serves the South and Central Austin area.

This is the same area where the smell is being reported. “I turned on the water and it's just this over powering odor of what I would consider raw meat,” said Kathryn Araguz who lives in South Austin.

Araguz was getting ready to take a shower Thursday morning when a horrible odor came from the shower itself. “I didn't want to have to take a shower but I had too and it was just gross,” said Araguz.

The smell plagued the water as she continued to take a shower. “My skin actually smelled for quite a while,” said Araguz. She wasn’t alone, reports of stinky water were found in South and Central Austin.

While the city says the water it's self is still safe to drink it's the smell that's really keeping people away from doing that. “I don't want to drink anything that's deemed safe but smells bad,” said Araguz.

She said she wouldn't be surprised if those with the city are also not to drinking it.

“I just wish they would actually taste it,” said Araguz.

According to Austin Water, the culprit is an invasive species called zebra mussels found at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant. “They were discovered in the raw water pipeline in the plant,” said Rick Coronado the Austin Water assistant director of operations.

The city took steps to remove the unwanted guests and used powdered activated carbon, a chemical used in water treatment, to deal with the smell. “Powdered carbon is what we typically use to combat some of these taste and odor events, we also continue to flush the lines of the system and continue to take calls from customers as this progresses,” said Coronado.

While they do routine inspections at their water plants, the pipe where the zebra mussels were found is hardly ever checked. “They are very difficult to get into their in confined spaces and you normally don't have man way access to get into that,” said Coronado.

The city said it will take several hours for the smell to go away, during this time Araguz said she will be stirring clear of having to use any in order to avoid the dreadful odor.

Zebra mussels aren't just causing a problem for Austin Water. Last year, we told you how they were making their way into Round Rock's water intake system.

Both cities say they are becoming more and more common in Central Texas.



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