THE SNIFFER

THE SNIFFER

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

THE SNIFFER

Lucian’s skill for smelling water is based on principles first developed for the wine industry, which uses flavor profile panels to establish benchmarks for both smell and taste. Lucian was trained by the renowned taste and odor specialist, Stu Krasner of Metropolitan Water District of California (retired).

TASTE AND ODOR HOOD
A dedicated area where testers, instead of sampling water at actual river temperatures, it’s heated it up to 60 to 70 degrees C. This causes odors to off-gas, making it easier to detect what’s in the water.

MINNEAPOLIS DRINKING WATER COMES STRAIGHT FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. AFTER TREATMENT–BUT BEFORE PEOPLE DRINK A GLASS–IT'S TESTED BY THE CITY'S DESIGNATED "SNIFFER".
When river water is used for public consumption it usually has a slightly grassy smell before it's treated. Most of this can be removed during treatment, where Lucian is also trained to detect the low-level presence of other contaminants like Geosmin and Methyl-Isoborneol (MIB), two naturally occurring compounds that impart an earthy, musty taste and odor. In addition, he can identify trace amounts of Trimethylamine, a product of plant and animal decomposition, which at low levels has a fishy odor.

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