AUSTIN — Here's a new thing keeping Austin weird: Stinky tap water caused by rotting zebra mussels.
Residents in some parts of Texas' capital city this week reported foul-smelling water. City officials identified the source as a massive infestation of the fingernail-sized mollusks inside a water treatment plant pipe that had been turned off for about two weeks.
That gave the mussels enough time to infest the pipe in massive numbers. When the pipe was put back on line, a chemical normally used to control the mussel population flushed through and wiped out the colony, leaving the mussels to decay.
Austin Water officials said the water was still safe to drink because of constant disinfection measures within the system. City officials pumped in powdered activated carbon to absorb the smell.