East Bay residents reporting 'metallic' tasting water

Byby Elissa Harrington via KGO logo
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
EMBED <>More Videos

East Bay MUD officials say a foul odor and different taste in tap water is being caused by the drought, but is safe to drink.

SAN RAMON, Calif. (KGO) -- Foul smelling water coming out of taps from the East Bay should be gone by the end of the week.

Customers started noticing it this past weekend. Hundreds of people are complaining about the change in taste and odor and it seems to be related to the drought.

East Bay MUD officials say the water is safe to drink.

The sour tap water is running through homes and businesses of East Bay MuD customers from Emeryville to Orinda to San Ramon.

Oakland resident Vita Pascone says hers started tasting funny a few days ago. "It just hasn't tasted quite as fresh recently, yeah a little slight algae taste, but nothing harmful," she said.

"What we've been hearing is there's mostly a metallic taste they're not used to, maybe even an earthy taste. And the reason has to do with a change that we've made in the way we operate our reservoir," EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said.

Figuerroa says they've received more than 300 complaints since they made the switch on Thursday.

Most of their 1.3 million customers rely on water from the Pardee Reservoir in the Sierra Foothills.

So do salmon for the fall salmon run. They're required by law to save cold water for the fish, which is stored at the bottom of the reservoir because of the drought. They had to pump from other areas for customers.

"We opted to pull water from higher up in the reservoir and of course that water is warmer, sunlit, and has more algae. Now, algae is filtered out at water treatment plants and is not in the drinking water but it does leave behind taste and odor compounds," Figueroa said.

She says the water is perfectly safe, but they have reversed their course of action. Workers are now pumping lower in the reservoir and the bad smell and taste should be gone by the end of the week.

It may be temporary because of the drought and as we approach the summer months, EBMUD might have to do this again. Figueroa suggests chilling your water to get rid of that taste and smell.

For full coverage on the drought, click here.

Related

Bay Area water conservation resources

    World Water Day 2019: How to save water in your house, room-by-room

      Experts say desalinating seawater could ease California drought

        California Gov. Brown signs emergency drought relief into law

          South Bay officials consider 30 percent water conservation goal

            Lack of snow forces Tahoe's Sugar Bowl to close

              California Gov. Brown proposes $1 billion in drought spending

                South Bay officials push to expand recycled water plan

                  New California water conservation rules start next month

                    Delta smelt on brink of extinction due to drought

                      Strict orders loom as California falls short on water conservation

                        EBMUD kicks off 'Leak Week' by fixing toilets

                          NASA official says California has one year of water left

                            Santa Clara Valley Water District reconsidering rate hike

                              EBMUD sounding alarm on California drought

                                Santa Clara Valley Water District proposes rate hike

                                  Local water district officials consider rate hikes

                                    Stanford scientists predict more knockout droughts in California

                                      New tech helps measure Sierra snowpack from the sky

                                        Weekend rain not enough to impact CA drought

                                          Weak Sierra snowpack suggests another year of drought

                                            South Bay water users may need to conserve more

                                              Warm winter weather triggers early bloom, but has downside

                                                Bay Area residents enjoy unusually warm weather

                                                  Ongoing drought has water districts weighing options

                                                    San Francisco Unified drops water consumption by 43 percent

                                                      Most of California facing extreme drought despite December storm

                                                        Drought resistant plants at higher risk of frost damage

                                                          Rain is welcome sound for North Bay farmers

                                                            California drought years from being over

                                                              Marin County reservoirs overflow with rainwater

                                                                Summit on climate change held in Oakland

                                                                  South Bay reservoir still critically low, despite heavy rain