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VIDEO: Forsyth County Adds "Ozone" Process to Water Treatment

New process to aid in treated water’s possible seasonal musty odor/taste

The Forsyth County Department of Water and Sewer (FCDWS) has added an additional water treatment technology, known as “Ozone”, to further reduce contaminants beyond agency standards and to safely oxidize drinking water at the County’s primary water treatment facility.

While the 2023 Annual Water Report indicates Forsyth County’s drinking water meets all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state drinking water health standards, the Ozone process further enhances the County’s ability to remove trace compounds that, while safe, can have a seasonal impact on the taste and smell of drinking water.

Watch this video highlighting the benefits of the Ozone treatment and details on the newly added process to the County’s water supply:

The additional process will aid in the treatment of the County’s drinking water supply, particularly during late summer and early fall when blue-green algae is more prevalent in the County’s water source, Lake Lanier, and release two non-toxic compounds, 2-Methylisoborneol (MIB) and Geosmin. While these compounds are safe and naturally occurring, both can be detected by some at even extremely low concentrations and can cause an earthy, musty taste and odor in water that is not easily removed by traditional water treatment techniques. The FCDWS traditionally has used a Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) system to significantly reduce the levels of MIB and Geosmin in the water drawn from Lake Lanier during this time of year.

“We are very pleased to have the Ozone system operational in advance of the typical late summer and early fall MIB/Geosmin season of Lake Lanier,” said Assistant County Manager Barry Lucas. “This equips the water treatment plant with another taste and odor treatment tool, which will enable us to provide a higher level of service and water quality to Forsyth County water customers.”

To learn more about the effects of MIB and Geosmin, click here.

How the Ozone Process Works

Earth’s Ozone exists naturally in the upper atmosphere and filters the sun’s ultraviolet light while protecting the planet from harmful radiation.

With the new system, the FCDWS is creating its own “Ozone” in a specialized reactor by taking oxygen and combining it with a strong electrical current. The gas is then injected into water, and the Ozone, one of nature’s most powerful oxidizers, effectively breaks down and eliminates compounds like MIB and Geosmin.

The Ozone treatment process can easily be activated and deactivated, as needed, during higher levels of compounds such as MIB and Geosmin. It also can treat larger amounts of water and is more effective at breaking down compounds than the traditional PAC system.

For more information pertaining to Ozone, click here.

Residents interested in learning more about County water and sewer processes are encouraged to visit the Water & Sewer educational information webpage on and to take a tour of the County’s water treatment and wastewater treatment plant systems.

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