“The odor is caused by decaying organic material in Lake Erie,” a Cleveland Water representative told FOX 8 News in an email on Thursday.
That material settles below the lake’s surface, kept down by a water layer called the thermocline, which is between the warmer mixed water atop the lake and the colder water below. Ever been swimming in a lake and your foot suddenly kicks into icy cold water? You’ve found the thermocline.
But as that transitional layer starts to break down in the colder fall months, the wind and waves on the lake can cause that decaying organic material to get pushed back up.
“Over the last few days, we increased our carbon treatment to help minimize any unpleasant taste or odor,” the statement reads. “It should resolve in the next couple days.”
Cleveland Water’s latest water quality report shows the utility was within Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulatory limits for all contaminants in 2022, including total organic carbon, which is naturally present in the environment.
Cleveland Water serves 80 Cleveland-area communities and about 1.4 million customers.