20 Aug 2014
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The Martinez Water Problem — What's It All About? Algae.

City officials say that they are working hard on fixing the odor and taste problems with the city's tap water.

The Martinez Water Problem — What's It All About? Algae.

When we turn on the tap, we expect the water that emerges to be fresh, clean and free of odor and flavor. Water should taste like... well, water.

But for the past couple of weeks, the water from Martinez taps has had a distinctive smell and flavor, one that doesn’t sit well with most palates. And that is due, according to Martinez water system manager Alan Pellegrini, to an algae bloom at the source of Martinez's drinking water, Rock Slough near Oakley.

Crews at the water treatment plant and at Contra Costa Water District, from which the city purchases raw water, are working to rid the system of the problem. But it’s not a speedy process.

“It’s not gotten anywhere near where I want it to be,” Pelligrini said  Friday. “CCWD is working real hard to get the source water under control, and the treatment plant is doing the best it can with what it has to work with.”

There are no health or safety issues at play, Pelligrini said. The water is safe, just has a noticeable musty, dirty taste and odor.

“I hope that with each day we see improvements,” he said.

The same problem occurred in 2006, he noted, and was brought under control in a couple of weeks.

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