Forsyth County neighbors complain of water having foul odor. Here’s what we found out

Forsyth County neighbors complain of water having foul odor for weeks

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Most people in metro Atlanta get their drinking water from Lake Lanier, but some families in Forsyth County say the water coming out of the tap smells bad and tastes awful.

Channel 2′s Tom Regan has been digging into the problem and reached out to local water departments in the county. The short answer is they think it has to do with an abundance of algae in the lake.

Officials said that could have been caused by runoff from heavy rains in recent weeks carrying fertilizer. They insist the water is safe to drink and use but a lot of people said they are not taking any chances.

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Lori Litsky said her tap water has had a smell for weeks.

“To me it smells like, like ammonia. To other people it smells like dirt or sulfide,” Litsky said. “I gagged on the tap water, took a sip of it will my pill and thought I was going to throw up.”


Litsky is not alone. Both the Cumming Water Department and Forsyth County Water and Sewer are getting dozens of calls a day complaining about the foul smelling water.

“A lot of us are putting whole house filtration systems,” Litsky said.

John Marshall with the department said the smell is caused by an abundance of algae in Lake Lanier and the natural compounds in it.

“As the algae grow in the lake and it dies off, the compounds die off and produce the earthy smell and tastes,” Marshall explained.

He said the addition of carbon activated charcoal to the treatment process will absorb the compounds causing the foul taste and odor. Marshall also said the water is safe to drink and cook with.

“The water poses no health risks. It’s just an aesthetic problem,” Marshall said.

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