A sudden temperature change has caused an exchange in the Barren Fork River that has left a bad taste in the mouths of some Warren County residents.
“The river has turned over,” said McMinnville Water Treatment Plant manager Ricky Morton.
He says the warmer water at the top of the river has flip-flopped with cooler water at the bottom of the river because of the sudden change in the water’s temperature.
“Usually, less dense water is at the surface and denser water is at or near the bottom,” Morton said. “When you have a sudden drop in temperature, the water at the top cools quickly causing the water at the top to be denser than the water at the bottom. The bottom goes to the top and the top goes to the bottom, which stirs up everything at the bottom of the river.”
Due to the cold weather, the water temperature in the Barren Fork River quickly fell from 55 degrees to 49 degrees.
“I do apologize for the taste, but there isn’t much we can do at this point,” said Morton. “The water is safe to drink and it meets all the state requirements. West Warren also gets its water from the Barren Fork River and their customers have also noticed a change in the taste.”
Contributing to the bad taste lingering is the lack of rainfall. Morton says rain would help push the disturbed water downstream and improve the taste.
“We had 2 inches of rainfall Monday,” he said. “We had 2.18 inches in November and 3.42 inches in October. That’s not a whole lot of rain for those two months. Last year, we had 6.89 inches in November alone. If we had adequate rainfall, it would help push the water on downstream.”
Residents should see a gradual change in the taste of the water over the next few days, Morton says, as the water settles and moves downstream.