SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Smelly, earthy-tasting tap water is taking over the Sacramento region.
It’s something that happens every year, but the utility department has been bombarded with calls from concerned neighbors much earlier than expected.READ MORE: Road Worker Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver On Hwy. 99 In South Sacramento Identified
Most of Sacramento’s tap water comes from the rivers and many people will tell you it tastes like it.
“It’s got an earthy, muddy mucky taste sometimes,” said Sacramento resident Angelica Aiello.
City utility experts said this problem gets worse during the summer when the temperatures are high and the water flow in the river is low.
“As temperatures rise, the water flows on the river start to slow down. There’s a little bit of bacteria that can build up,” said Carlos Eliason, spokesperson for the Sacramento Department of Utilities.
Eliason said the bacteria that builds up along the riverbed is called geosmin. It has the same smell as the end of a rainstorm.READ MORE: Reactions Mixed Over Yolo County Mask Mandate Going Into Effect Friday
“Humans are really, really good at detecting this element called geosmin, and some of it gets through in the water,” he said. “And while it’s completely harmless, people can find it a little bit unpleasant.”
California’s severe drought has caused water levels to drop much sooner than usual, so people are tasting the earthy water now instead of the normal time which would be around fall.
Many Sacramentans said buying bottled water is now their way of life.
“I have a son who’s older now, 24, he’s all into health and he’s like ‘We’ve got to stop, don’t drink this, you can’t even Brita filter it,’ ” said Rachel Breedlove, a Sacramento resident.
Eliason said the city will be investing in upgrades to their water treatment facility in the future that would prevent the water from tasting earthy – but there’s no timeline on that yet.MORE NEWS: Report Shows Sacramento Police More Likely To Arrest, Use Force On Black People
You can track the quality of your water on the city’s website.