Illinois American Water’s Pontiac District Drinking Water is Experiencing a Temporary Change in Taste and Odor

A seasonal change in the Vermilion River is causing temporary aesthetic changes in tap water; water remains safe to drink.

Pontiac, Ill. – Dec. 17, 2020 – Illinois American Water’s Pontiac District is experiencing changes in the taste and odor of water provided to customers due to a seasonal change in the Vermilion River. Illinois American Water assures customers that drinking water continues to meet all regulatory drinking water standards.

 According to Corey Robinson, operations superintendent for the Pontiac service area, a limited number of customers may experience aesthetic changes. “Our team continues to monitor source water from the Vermilion River and adjust water treatment as necessary. We are also flushing our system. Our customers can rest assured that water quality continues to meet EPA standards and is safe to drink.”

Low precipitation has affected the Vermilion River, the water source for the Pontiac service area. The river has seen an increase in organic compounds which result in earthy or musty tastes and odors. To address the issue, Illinois American Water has implemented activated carbon treatment. This treatment process helps to decrease the aesthetic change in drinking water. This is a common practice in water treatment and complies with regulatory standards.

As progress is made, it can take a few days before all customers perceive a change in their drinking water. This is due to the time it takes for treated water to be delivered from the water treatment plant throughout the vast water distribution system.

Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. For more information, visit and follow Illinois American Water on Twitter and Facebook.


About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Karen Cotton

External Affairs Manager