Toronto’s drinking water declared safe despite ‘chemical’ taste

Metallic taste and smell result of increase in supply's chlorine content.

Many Toronto residents took to social media Thursday night in search of answers for why their drinking water had a chemical and/or metallic taste. It turns out tap water in the east end had an increase in chlorine content, which did not pose any kind of health threat, according to city officials.

Complaints flooded Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit threads with claims of the odd taste and smell in drinking water mostly in the east end, although some residents near Bathurst St. also reported problems.

“This is a taste and odour issue,” City of Toronto spokesperson Ellen Leesti said on Friday (via Toronto Star.) “There is no issue with safety within the city.”


According to Health Canada, risks of long-term or high levels of chlorination by-products can lead to “an increased risk of cancer. Several studies on humans have also found a link between long-term exposure to high levels of chlorination by-products and a higher risk of cancer.”

Furthermore, “high levels of THMs may also have an effect on pregnancy.”

A Reddit user who claimed to work as a wastewater engineer in Toronto offered up the following “too long, didn’t read” explanation for the change in the water’s taste and smell:

“Sometimes there’s excess phosphorus in the water supply for whatever reason, City doses extra chlorine to reach removal requirements, water is totally fine just tastes slightly different.”

So we’re going to assume it was a minimal amount of chlorine we were consuming last night.

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