State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007AR164B
Title: Source of Geosmin and MIB in drinking water: Identifying the source and mechanisms of taste and odor compounds at Beaver Reservoir, northwest Arkansas
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2008
Congressional District: 3
Focus Categories: Management and Planning, Non Point Pollution, Toxic Substances
Keywords: odor and taste, cyanobacteria, actinomycetes, nutrients
Principal Investigators: Hausmann, Sonja (University of Arkansas); Boss, Stephen K. (Dept. of Geosciences); Davis, Ralph K (University of Arkansas)
Federal Funds: $ 24,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 48,002
Abstract: Taste and odor issues are a major problem for water districts and municipalities worldwide. Beaver Reservoir, northwest Arkansas sole drinking water supply, experiences episodic intervals of bad taste and odor each fall associated with annual lake turnover. Although there are no direct health risks associated to taste and odor per se, earthy taste and odor reflect algal proliferation following turnover, and the potential for harmful algal blooms (HABs) presents some concern (EPA, 2005).

Efforts to eradicate the primary compounds, Geosmin and Methyl-Isoborneol (MIB), such as ozonation, filtration and watershed management have been marginally successful. One of the major problems associated with eradicating taste and odor is that the source and mechanisms of production are poorly understood. Several studies have shown positive correlations between cyanobacterial abundance and concentrations of Geosmin and MIB. However, studies in other areas have found no statistically significant correlation between cyanobacterial abundance and MIB/Geosmin concentration. This leads to the conclusion that other sources may be responsible for the production of these compounds. Standing timber, vegetation and actinomycetes have also been found to produce MIB and Geosmin. Eradication of MIB and Geosmin at Beaver Reservoir will first require identification of the sources and mechanisms of production. This study aims to accomplish this goal by conducting year round sampling for MIB, Geosmin, cyanobacterial and actinomycetes species abundance. Additionally, water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, nutrients and dissolved solids will be assessed. Understanding of the sources of taste and odor in our drinking water is the purpose of this study.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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