The Algae Bloom Is Back To Haunt Martinez Tap Water

The water is safe, officials stress, even though the taste and odor is unpleasant.

Once again, as the weather warms up, the algae bloom has returned to the Martinez Reservoir, owned by the Contra Costa Water District and the source of the city's drinking water. This means tap water that tastes and smells moldy or otherwise unpleasant.

But city and CCWD officials stress that the water is pefectly safe to drink, despite the taste and odor problems. 

City Engineer Tim Tucker said the problem was first noticed last Saturday, and treatment began right away. A two-tiered water treatment was done by CCWD, which is expected to help destroy the algae and return the water quality to normal. 

"CCWD has treated the source water to bring the algae under control, and the city has adjusted the treatment process to control taste and odor in customers’ drinking water," Tucker said. "Over a short period of time, this two-pronged approach is expected to resolve the issues."

However, he suggested that residents fill pitchers with water and refrigerate them, since the taste and odor problems seem to be worse with warm water. 

Meanwhile, the city is using treated water from other CCWD sources that do not suffer from the algae problems. 

"The algae bloom is caused by our source water, which comes from the Delta," said Jennifer Allen, a spokeswoman for CCWD. "We want to emphasize that the water is safe to drink, despite the taste and odor problems." 

Eggness August 10, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Yuck!! :( :-p :-P :-(
Toni1965 August 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I'm so sick of this happening every year, this morning I checked out Water Wise across the street from the high school and will be getting a set up for home. Plus it Willie safer than drinking the water that is treated with chemicals and fluoride which are bad for us.
Chris Kapsalis August 10, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Does anyone know if the water was tested to see what kind of algae it is and the name of it? Some kinds are very toxic identical to other non toxic types of algae. The article does not mention any lab testing.
diana August 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM
It started last Monday. I had a sip of water at Kaiser and noticed the musty flavor. :( Distasteful water is also a health risk, because people will not drink as much, but will choose an alternative, and most alternatives are not as good for you as water.
gayle goldblatt August 11, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I notice if I boil it it is MUCH better afterward. So I have been using my electric kettle, then transferring my 'treated' water to pitchers on the counter top. But it certainly smells/tastes awful.......
Jim Caroompas (Editor) August 11, 2012 at 08:03 PM
The article didn't need to mention that they test it. That, most reasonable people will assume.
Chris Kapsalis August 11, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I am a reasonalble person Jim. "Blue-green blooms can pose a human health concern. Although most blue-green blooms are not toxic, some blue-green algae produce nerve or liver toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict in part because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Also a bloom that tests non-toxic one day can turn toxic the next day. ..Nerve and liver damage have been observed following long-term exposure such as drinking water with toxic blooms. Pets and wildlife have died after exposure to toxic blue-green algae in Washington lakes" I wonder if it is being tested that is all.
Cowboy Greg August 12, 2012 at 04:26 AM
They should not charge any customer for this yearly screwup. There needs to be an immediate change in management.
Linda Meza August 12, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Harkening back to Jim's Tell Us A Joke Martinez, yes, coffee is tasting an 'awful' lot like mud. Bottle water customer in the immediate future...


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