New York’s ‘champagne water’ takes on soil taste

The tap water in New York City has caused a stir as residents complain it tastes like soil.

The water in America’s most famous city has taken on an unusual taste since the beginning of October when work began on a reservoir.

As the New York Post put it, “It’s eau de dirt”.

Ahead of the shutdown of one of two aqueducts from the Catskill-Delaware reservoir system, more water was drawn from the mineral-rich Croton watershed reservoirs, the paper reports.

This mineral rich water normally makes up around 10% of the water supply in New York City but has risen to up to 30% in Manhattan and parts of the Bronx.

Complaints about water odour have rocketed in October, with many coming from around Kips Bay. Pic: NYC OpenData
Complaints about water odour have rocketed, with many coming from around Kips Bay. Pic: NYC OpenData

Some 328 complaints have been filed about odour in the water since 1 October, according to government data.

New Yorker Jolie Buckingham tweeted: “Here on the UWS [upper west side] in the 70s the moldy [sic] potting soil taste and smell became very intense late last night @nyc311 and still noticeable now.

“Was slightly musty last week Change the croton filters!”

A Twitter user going by the username nycliving wrote: “what is going on with the water in the east village/gramercy?!? Tastes like soil. Maybe mold?! Not drinkable.”

New York’s environmental protection agency’s website describes the City’s drinking water as “world-renowned for its quality”, with locals jokingly calling it the “champagne of tap water”.

It insists the unusual tasting water New Yorkers are having to sip is perfectly safe but has suggested those who want to can report “unusual odor/taste/coloration” to the City’s non-emergency government service.

“New Yorkers can develop their preferences, but it is all tested hundreds of times each day and it is the safest, healthiest drink,” DEP spokesman Edward Timbers told the Post.

The 113-year-old Catskill aqueduct is undergoing a $156m (£119m) repair project which begins at the end of October for 10 weeks.


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