Is Fort Wayne’s smelly water really safe to drink?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Several comments and concerns have been submitted to the WOWO Newsroom about Fort Wayne's poor tasting and smelly water. Residents are starting to question the safety of the water supply.

Officials with Fort Wayne's filtration plant say they're making progress in removing the odor and taste, but in order to do so, more chlorine has been added to the water. Despite the higher levels of the chemical, officials have maintained that the water is safe to use.

Meanwhile, some Fort Wayne residents are not so convinced.

To find out for ourselves, WOWO News spoke with Amy Smith, a spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, chlorine levels in drinking water cannot exceed a 4.0 limit. The City of Fort Wayne is well within those guidelines as the highest chlorine level reached for the Summit City, at any point thus far, has been a 2.18 on March 12, 2015. Smith says it's not likely that residents using the water would be dealing with any health issues, however, she says it's not impossible.

Some people are more sensitive than others to certain exposure to certain things,” said Smith.

Mary-Jane Slaton, Program Manger for City Utilities, told WOWO news that Fort Wayne's 3-1-1 Department has received numerous phone calls from customers saying they feel as though they've had health effects from the City's water. To be on the safe side, she recommends customers calling a health care provider.

What we recommend that they (customers) do, in order to make sure that its not some other underlying health condition, we encourage people to talk to their doctor, see their doctor. If they're having an extreme health condition, they need to go to an emergency room.”

Meanwhile, John Silcox, with the Allen County Department of Health says there have been some “stories” of health effects from the water , but no connection has been made.

We've heard anecdotally people have said that they've experienced some health effects and they're not sure if its related to the water or not. Some of those being some trouble with breathing or irritation to their eyes and nose or maybe some gastrointestinal type symptoms, that sort of thing. But we have not received any reports confirming that anyone has had any documented illnesses that could even be attributed to that at this point in time.”

He says his department is reaching out to local hospitals and urgent care clinics to make sure they haven't seen anything unusual. However, he still encourages residents to see a doctor if they're experiencing some of the symptoms listed above.

Meantime, many residents have noticed the decrease in odor over the past few days, but Frank Suarez with City Utilities says there may be pockets of the city where some residents may still notice some odd smells. Crews are still flushing Fort Wayne's water system, but it's a process that takes some time.

Crews are hoping that the water will be odor-free by the weekend.