Following a holiday weekend with reports of unpleasant changes to the smell and taste of local tap water, officials say the water system should be back to normal, and local water was always safe to drink.
After being shut down for several weeks of maintenance, the Hetch Hetchy water system was restarted on Jan. 18, according to Virginia Parks, an assistant engineer with the Menlo Park public works department.
Restarting the system led to a change in taste and smell to local water as it made its way from the East Bay treatment plant in Sunol, to the Peninsula, Ms. Parks said. She noted that the affected water took as much as 24 hours to pass through the water system.
Over the weekend, the Almanac received several reports of water that tasted metallic and had an odor of chlorine. Ms. Parks and Darin Duncan, a district manager of the California Water Service Co., said that despite the odd smell and taste, local water was safe to drink.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission -- which oversees water supplies to the Peninsula -- warned cities that water would be cloudy for much of January, as the result of air bubbles in water drawn from local reservoirs while the Hetch Hetchy system was under repair.
Ms. Parks said SFPUC faxed a press release on Friday, Jan. 18, that informed the city of potential changes to the odor and taste of tap water in the Menlo Park area, but city offices were closed, and staff didn't receive the information until Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Mr. Duncan said there still could be stints when tap water tastes "a little funky" as the Hetch Hetchy system gets up and running.