Foul smell in tap water on city's south side causing concern

MILWAUKEE -- A foul smell in the tap water on Milwaukee's south side is creating concern for residents there. Some are worried whether the water is safe to drink and use for things like laundry and showering.

Life-long Milwaukee resident Michael Schaefer says he's a fan of the city's tap water, but last week, he noticed something unusual.

"Went to get a drink of water and it smelled moldy or 'mildew-ey.' I think (Milwaukee's tap water) is the best, from everything I've read. Usually it doesn't smell or taste bad," Schaefer said.

Schaefer said he and his wife started drinking bottled water as the smell continued to concern them.

"I didn't call anybody because I thought, 'maybe I'll see something on the news' -- which I didn't," Schaefer said.

Carrie Lewis, the Superintendent of Milwaukee Water Works says the water is perfectly safe to drink.

Lewis says the smell is due to scheduled maintenance on computers controlling the Howard Avenue Water Treatment Facility's "ozonation" process that has shut the process down temporarily. Lewis says this, combined with lake water being warmer than usual and the water begins to smell.

Lewis says the "ozonation" process serves as a secondary disinfectant -- explaining that even without the process, the water is still disinfected with chlorine.

"We don't realize sometimes how lucky we've got it, and that ozone is just a magical part of water treatment. We'll be really happy to get it back online," Lewis said.

Lewis says "ozonation" should resume within the next several days and the smell should be gone soon. In the meantime, Lewis reiterates that the water is safe to drink and use.