OPELIKA, Ala. — If you live in Opelika and have noticed a different taste in the water recently, there is no need to be alarmed. Opelika Utilities said the water is safe to drink, and it is due to a natural occurrence.

Saughatchee Lake is one of the city’s sources of water. In any surface water, there are organisms, bacteria and algae that naturally occur in the water. During their life cycle, they give off compounds, and some of those compounds give off a musty, earthy taste to the water.

When the algae die, they give off more of those compounds, which come through the water treatment system. With no technology to get rid of them completely, the only thing to do is wait for it to flush itself out of the distribution system, which experts hope will be in a couple of days.

“The water is safe to drink,” Opelika Utilities General Manager Dan Hilyer said. “We’re never going to produce water and put water out there that’s not safe to drink.”

Hilyer said they believe this is no longer occurring at the plant. They have not tasted it as water has come out of the plant for the last five to seven days.

Hilyer added that the organisms and other items do not live well in cold water. As the water gets colder, there will be less organisms producing less compounds. The less compounds there are, the better the water tastes.