City water could have fishy taste or smell during plant improvement project

Milwaukee Water Works customers north of State Street are being warned about a possible change to the smell and taste of their drinking water ahead of an infrastructure improvement project.

Beginning in late October, the Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) will temporarily turn off its ozone system at the north side Linnwood Water Treatment Plant so infrastructure improvements may be installed at the plant. As a result, some customers who use tap water originating from the Linnwood Plant may notice a fishy or musty taste or smell in their water, but officials stress that the tap water is safe to drink during the project.

The rest of the water treatment system at the Linnwood plant will be fully operational, including chlorine disinfection, which provides effective disinfectant to meet all water quality standards and regulations. While chlorine disinfection assures adequate water quality in distribution systems, the addition of ozone has the added benefit of improving drinking water taste and smell from surface water sources such as Lake Michigan. Both ozone and chlorine disinfection will remain in use at the south side Howard Avenue Water Treatment Plant.

\"The City of Milwaukee Health Department works closely with Milwaukee Water Works to assure safe drinking water for area residents, including reviewing treatment plant operations and water samples during these types of plant improvements,” said Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker. “Milwaukee continues to have consistently high standards for drinking water, and has some of the safest drinking water in the nation – working together, we will keep it that way.”

MWW is installing valves upstream of the ozone process to facilitate different water flow paths through the treatment process. This will increase the flexibility in operating the plant and will add a layer of redundancy, to the benefit of all customers. Ozone must be turned off so workers can install these valves. Ozone treatment at the Linnwood Water Treatment Plant is expected to resume within 12 weeks.

For more information, visit or call the MWW at (414) 286-2830.

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