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Drinking water looks white? Still safe to drink.

Original post made by Virginia Parks on Jan 8, 2008

If local tap water looks white, the cause is air bubbles. This temporary change affects only the appearance of the water. The City's drinking water continues to meet all State and Federal water quality standards, has been property disinfected, and is safe to drink.

During January or February of each year, the City's regular source of water, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is turned off so that maintenance and improvement projects can be carried out. During this time, the City instead receives water from the local Alameda County watershed. This local water is fed to the treatment plant at a higher-than-normal flow rate. As a result, very small air bubbles are added to the water during the treatment process.

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir will again be providing water to City customers by the end of February 2008.

Comments (1)

Posted by Denise Johnson-Kula, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 16, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Although air bubbles in the tap water are not harmful. There are serious concerns about chloramine, the disinfectant used to treat surface water sources like the Hetch Hetchy reservoir or the Alameda County watershed.
Since chloramine has increasingly replaced chlorine as the disinfectant in many water systems across the country, including the Hetch Hetchy system in 2004, water users began experiencing health problems. Many individuals who are exposed to chloraminated water develop skin, respiratory and/or digestive symptoms.
These conditions look like allergic reactions or acid reflux and irritable bowel. The symptoms are actually caused by chloramine's irritating effect on the skin and the mucous membranes that line the respiratory and digestive tracts. They can range from mild, like a minor rash, to severe and even life threatening, like extreme respiratory distress.
If you think that you may be suffering from chloramine in your tap water or have other questions about chloramine, please call Citizens Concerned About Chloramine at: 650-328-0424.
For more information visit:

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