City Workers Explain the Smelly Side of Showering

What causes these odors and why you shouldn't be concerned

FARGO, N.D. — Many people in the Valley could be getting weird smells from their shower at this time of year.

If your water smells earthy, Fargo city workers have an answer.

They say any smell of chlorine or organic smells coming from your shower aren’t something you should be concerned about.

“We generally see this at the end of March or April even, explains Fargo Water Treatment Plant superintendent Mark Peterson. “It hit quick and it hit early.”

Peterson says organic matter from the previous fall causes these odors almost every spring.

Things like leaves break down under the snow and get carried into the river.

Since we’ve had record breaking high temperatures in the last few weeks, it’s happening earlier than usual.

“A lot of times, we have a little more heads up of this coming at us,” said Peterson. “When we see these discharges, we can prepare for them a little bit.”

Peterson says even with this runoff, the water is heavily processed and filtered.

It’s still safe to drink.

“Essentially, we’ve got four major processes when we treat water,” said Peterson. “We have a pre-treatment, softening, ozone disinfection, and then these are our filter. So basically this is essentially the last time we get to see the water before we finish treating it.”

The ozone disinfection helps control these odors, and without it, Peterson says the smells would be more pungent.

But if there really is something wrong with your water, he says you’ll know.

“If it’s a fuel smell or taste or something like that, you’re body will let you know that you shouldn’t drink it,” Peterson said.

So if your shower smells funky, chances are it’s just the symptoms of spring.

The Fargo Water Treatment Plant serves both the city of Fargo and West Fargo.

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