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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Supplier Says Thaw Won't Hurt Water

As a winter's worth of debris -- and worse - washes into Moscow's reservoirs with the spring thaw, health officials say tap water remains safe to drink, though it might smell odd in rare cases.

The city's water supplier is applying its annual precautionary measures against the influx: Extra filtering with manganese and activated charcoal on top of the standard chlorine.

"Drinking water in Moscow meets all the requirements of the Sanitary Epidemic Service," Olga Skvortsova, a water quality expert at the service, said Wednesday.

Not all city residents are as confident, and some boil their water, filter it, or use bottled water if they can afford it.

Moscow gets its drinking water from four main sources: the Northern, Western, Eastern and Rublyovskoye reservoirs located around the city. When the spring thaw comes, whatever is buried under the snow is washed into streams and, eventually, the reservoirs.

Officials of Mosvodokanal, the city's monopoly water supplier, also insisted that Moscow tap water poses no threat. Moscow faces this problem every year and its experts know how to handle it, said Yevgenia Bogomolova, a spokeswoman for Mosvodokanal.

"We have all the necessary technologies to purify water," she said in a telephone interview. Extra chlorine is not required, she said, since it does little to counteract organic matter. That job is done by the manganese and charcoal.

The maximum level of chlorine in tap water after purifying is 1.2 milligrams of chlorine per liter of water, she said.

This winter, Mosvodokanal issued instructions for farmers across the Moscow region to remove manure from their fields if it was likely to be carried into the watershed, Bogomolova said.

Fearing fines, some farmers cleaned up. Some didn't, she said.

Skvortsova said the water might smell slightly at some point but her service reported no complains from Muscovites this spring so far. Complaints have been extremely rare in previous years, she added.