Skip to Main Content Show Search


Spring Water Quality in Blackfalds

posted on Apr 5 2017

As the spring season kicks into full gear, residents may have noticed a change in smell and flavour of residential tap water. This is a normal and temporary occurrence every year as snow melts into runoff requiring additional treatment. 


Source of Blackfalds’ drinking water

Drinking water for the Town is drawn from the Red Deer River, treated by the City of Red Deer and delivered into the regional distribution system for consumption.


Water quality during the spring

High river flows in the spring due to snow melt leads to higher river turbidity and increased organic material. Spring runoff has the following sensory effects on treated drinking water quality:

Taste and odour

Spring runoff contains dead and decaying organic material that can cause disagreeable tastes and odours. During the spring runoff, the water treatment plant uses additional chemicals such as potassium permanganate and powder activated carbon (PAC) to help control changes in taste and odour. While the water may smell or taste different, it is completely safe to drink.

Water color

High levels of organic material in the river will stain the water brown, similar to the action of tea leaves. The treatment process removes most of the color. During high color conditions some of the color may be carried into the finished drinking water.

Chlorine odour

Higher chlorine doses may be required when raw water quality deteriorates during spring runoff, flooding, and heavy rainfalls. The chlorine reacts with a small harmless amount of organic material left in the water that may cause a musty/chlorine odour.