Some San Ramon Valley residents may have noticed a strange taste or bad smell in their water in recent weeks.
East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) officials recently acknowledged the changes, saying the agency has been drawing more water into its distribution system from Sacramento River. The river water tastes and smells different than the water from the district's usual source, the Mokelumne River, according to EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said.
In addition, hot summer months have created perfect conditions for algae to grow in the Sacramento River and at local reservoirs, according to Figueroa. While local treatment plants thoroughly filter out the algae, the taste and smell from the algae remain.
That being said, EBMUD officials said the changes don't affect the quality of the water, and it is still safe to drink and to use for cooking. All EBMUD tap water delivered to customers meets or exceeds state and federal health standards, according to agency officials.
Residents in Alamo, Danville, San Ramon and Walnut Creek are hit hardest by the recent taste and smell changes, but customers in west Contra Costa County and Castro Valley may also notice a difference in water taste, according to EBMUD.
The impact caused by drawing more water from the Sacramento River may last through the end of the drought, officials stated. Effects from the algae blooms may last a few weeks until the weather cools.
EBMUD previously faced problems with bad-smelling water in May when the district changed its water supply operations to pump more water from the surface of a reservoir with algae, rather than the reservoir's deeper, colder water.