MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A blue-green algae bloom continues impacting Lake Manatee, which provides about two-thirds of the county’s water supply.

County officials Tuesday said algae concentrations have gotten significantly better over the last few weeks, but the algae continues to produce taste and odor compounds.

“The geosmin we have been dealing with is still being produced at a much lower level, so for about the past four weeks, the levels coming into the plant have been low enough that we’ve been able to treat successfully for it,” said Utilities Department Deputy Director Katie Gilmore. “The levels leaving the plants are low enough that most people should not be able to taste or smell anything and they’re drinking water right now,” she continued.

Some residents in Manatee County continue to express concerns over the water coming from their faucets, questioning how safe it is to drink.

“I definitely don’t allow my kids to really drink the tap water, we have to invest in getting our own spring water and such, so it is a concern,” said resident Stephanie Valerio-De La Paz.

The county has conducted independent testing for toxins in the drinking water. All tests so far, according to the county, have come back negative for any toxins.

“I know there have been concerns about algal toxins in the water, and we have been testing for that. We have received back three rounds of testing so far, and the water remains 100% safe to drink, no toxins detected in the finished water. We have another round of sampling out right now that we are waiting for results, and we will continue to sample as long as the algae bloom is present in the lake,” said Gilmore.

Last month, we spoke with Dr. David Tomasko, who is the director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. He said the smell and taste of the geosmin may not be pleasant, but again, pointed out it is not toxic.

“If it was a health hazard, they wouldn’t be allowed to supply it. If it was bacteria, or if it was something that was dangerous, that wouldn’t be coming down our pipes, we wouldn’t be able to drink it,” said Dr. Tomasko.

We also spoke with an expert in algae ecology at the University of Miami. Dr. Larry Brand says though the geosmin itself may not be toxic, seeing it make its way through a filtration system could indicate other organic compounds that are less known could be doing the same.

“I just would not drink the water coming out of a water supply that has a blue-green algae bloom in it because I know they are producing a lot of compounds. The treatment will take some of this stuff out, but if you can smell that geosmin in there, it tells you the treatment is not getting out all of the organic matter produced by it,” said Dr. Brand.

County officials are hopeful the bloom will see improvements following rain forecasted for later this week. The hot and dry conditions we’ve seen so far this summer have kept the algae blooming longer than usual.