Does Your Tap Water Taste Weird?

Does Your Tap Water Taste Weird?Photo: [cipher]/Flickr
Rose Garrett
Published on December 05, 2016

Over the past few days, we've been hearing complaints of a change in the taste of tap water around the city—including in this reporter's apartment, where a "muddy" taste and vegetal smell became noticeable over the past couple days. 

A Reddit thread also notes the change, with commenters in Hayes Valley, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, Potrero Hill, the Richmond and the Mission chiming in to note water that tastes "funny," "funky," "off," "like lake water," "like Orange County's nasty tap water," and "like ass."

The prevailing theory seems to be that an algal bloom in a reservoir that's been tapped for water is the cause of the change in taste and smell, but so far, that hasn't been confirmed.

We've contacted the SFPUC for information as to what may be happening, but for now, there's just this statement on the agency's website to go by: "Taste and odor changes in SF due to source water blend. Water meets all quality standards and is safe to drink."

Update, 10am: We heard back from Suzanne Gautier of SFPUC, who told us that on Nov. 28th, there was a change made to the city's water blend which saw more water drawn from the Alameda and San Mateo reservoirs. This resulted in sediment being stirred up in the reservoirs and pipelines, causing some customers to experience "murky, earthy-tasting water." Gautier stressed that the water is completely safe to drink, and noted that it should pass out of a tap after about a day.

If the issue doesn't go away and you have concerns, she recommended contacting 311, which will link up with SFPUC's water quality and supply division.

Have you noticed a new funkiness to your tap water in SF? Let us know in the comments.