Smelly Tap Water Worries San Diego Residents

The water department says an algae bloom is to blame

Over the past few days, some San Diego residents have noticed an odd odor in their tap water.

Now, the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) says an algae bloom is to blame.

Lake Skinner in Riverside County is one of San Diego County's water sources. According to SDCWA, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) noticed the musty odor Thursday and determined on Friday that the smell was linked to an algae outbreak in a smaller reservoir that feeds Lake Skinner.

Mike Lee with SDCWA said our area has stopped getting water from Lake Skinner.

“MWD switched the Water Authority to a different source of water -- specifically, Colorado River water -- until the algae bloom is resolved. The Water Authority alerted its 24 member agencies about the algae bloom so they could alter their water treatment regimes as necessary,” Lee said in a statement Sunday.

Algae can change the taste and the smell of water, but does not impact water quality, according to Kirk Kidman with the City of San Diego Public Works Department.

MWD says the water is healthy and safe to drink, but suggests refrigerating tap water if customers want to improve the taste.

Read the MWD's official news release here.

Lee said the smell may linger for a few more days. He said it’s unclear how many how many customers have been affected.

Scripps Ranch resident Bill Feather said he first noticed the strange smell last Thursday.

“Sulfury, strong, just not fresh water smell,” Feather described.

"Not something you’re expecting to come out of your tap when you go to get a drink of water,” he said.

NBC 7 Facebook viewers in Mira Mesa, Vista, Oceanside, El Cajon, Clairemont, Serra Mesa and Escondido have also reported an odd odor in their water.

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