is a dilemma for those who believe that government is inherently good. And it’s a major boon for those who believe that government can’t do anything well.
In case you’re just not using your tap or your showers, for the past month or so, the water coming out of Martinez taps tastes like that strawberry you bit into before you got a chance to see that stuff was growing on it. It has a distinctly moldy or musty flavor and smell. It’s not pleasant for any purpose at all, unless you’re trying to stop drinking tap water.
The reason for this, according to city water officials, is an algae bloom at the source of the water, which in our case is Rock Slough near Oakley. We purchase our water from the Contra Costa Water District, and treat it at our own plant on Pacheco Boulevard (literally right next door to the Shell Refinery). The way we treat our water is pretty up to date, so it’s not like the treatment plant is behind the times. The plant is filtering out the stuff that makes it unhealthy, but it can’t filter out the flavor and odor problem.
As one reader has pointed out, we all received in the mail not long ago a report from CCWD stating that the raw water it was selling to customers (that would be us) was free of any and all problems. Then a couple of months later, we have an algae bloom at Rock Slough. They had one in 2006 as well. Did they not see this coming?
The point is this — our water is no bargain to begin with. My water bill every two months still makes me look unbelieving at the rate I’m being charged for what is just acceptable water in the best of times. It’s not great water. It comes through the Delta, and collects a lot of extra farm runoff on the way to the treatment plant. I want the water I pay for to be drinkable. I don’t want my coffee to taste like mud, just because it was ground this morning (get it — ground this morning?).
No one is offering me a discount for the fact that my water is subpar. I have to use this subpar water for my cooking, my drinking and my bathing. It is not a pleasant experience. And yet, I am paying the same rate for it that I pay when the water is palatable.
I don’t know the answer. I wish I did, because this problem is lasting longer than it should, and I still can’t believe water officials didn’t see this problem coming and do something to prevent it. I’m sure that in the end, we’ll get an explanation and an apology, but that doesn’t buy a lot of bottled water.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
1692 - Salem witch trials: in Salem, Massachusetts, Province of Massachusetts Bay five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, are executed after being convicted of witchcraft.
1848 - California Gold Rush: the New York Herald breaks the news to the East Coast of the United States of the gold rush in California (although the rush started in January).
2010 - Operation Iraqi Freedom ends, with the last of the United States brigade combat teams crossing the border to Kuwait.