City Says Not To Be Concerned About Water That Smells ‘Like Pond Scum’

By Dillon Thomas

WELLINGTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Residents across the Town of Wellington have complained to town officials, saying their tap water has a bad odor, and taste.

Residents told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas the issue is an annual problem.

“(The water) smells like a lake,” said Crystall Davidson.

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Crystall Davidson (credit CBS)

“All the water has smelled like pond scum,” said Kelly Nehls.

Residents said the smell and taste changes every year around the end of the summer, and often lasts for weeks.

“It is a reoccurring issue,” Nehls said.

Nehls said she never had an issue with the drinking water from Fort Collins, the major city south of Wellington. However, when she moved to Wellington, it was hard for her to dodge the problem.

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(credit CBS)

“It wasn’t until I first moved in, that I realized there was an issue,” Nehls said.

Davidson said she first noticed the problem, when she turned on the water to her sink.

“I picked up the smell. And, immediately I thought ‘is this safe to drink?” Davidson said.

According to a statement on the town’s official website, the odor and taste of the water is abnormal. However, the town said there is no need to be concerned for the health of those who are consuming and bathing in the water.

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(credit CBS)

Wellington’s website said the problem comes from blooming algae, which is forming in Reservoir #3, where the water is pulled from.

“At the height of the outbreak we recorded geosmin levels that were three times higher than ever recorded,” the town posted in their statement. “Geosmin is the organic compound that creates the earthy smell and taste in our water.”

“To their standards, I believe it is safe to drink. It is just not pleasant,” Nehls said.

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Kelly Nehls (credit CBS)

Some residents told CBS4, since the issue is an annual occurrence, they went out of their way to install water filtration systems. One resident said her system cost her thousands of dollars to install.

The town said they would be increasing their testing, and response, to the growing issue.

For Davidson, a new first-time mother, she was not willing to chance consuming the water. She said her family would still bathe in it, but would avoid consumption.

“We have our stockpile of (bottled) water,” Davidson said.

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(credit CBS)

Others said they were relying on filters that could be attached to faucets.

“Everything that we drink is filtered, even to the water I give my dogs,” Nehls said.

CBS4 reached out to the Town of Wellington for further comment. However, CBS4 was told the town administrator was not available.

To read more about the issue, and the town’s testing results, click here.

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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