Local News

Feb 14, 2014 8:47 PM by Victoria Johnson, KSBY News

Salty drinking water in San Simeon

The water in one local coastal community tastes more like the ocean.

The recent high tides have been pushing salt water into Pico Creek in San Simeon, making the drinking water a little less palatable.

"Salty, like the ocean. That's our tap water. That's what everyone is showering with, brushing their teeth with, everything," said Miguel Sandoval, Assistant Manager of the San Simeon Lodge and San Simeon Beach Bar and Grill.

Not only does it taste bad, but it's causing serious problems for residents and businesses. The simplest tasks, like making coffee, have become a challenge because of the salt.

"We've the set up coffee machine, but we can't use it because they completely got plugged up with all the salt in the water. We're still using the containers just because it's easier to pour, but the machines are completely useless now," said Sandoval.

The San Simeon Lodge had to buy coffee makers, like the ones people use at home, and fill them with purchased bottled water. The soda and ice machines are plugged up with salt too, making soda and ice additional expenses. Employees at the lodge are doing all they can.

"It makes the glasses dirty and hard to clean," said Sandoval. "We've increased our softener as far as we can increase it."

Sandoval says the water has tasted like this for about three weeks. The San Simeon Community Services District is instructing the lodge to save as much water as possible and is hoping for rain.

Yet there are alternatives to just hopefulness. The San Simeon Community Services District received their permit on February 1st of this year to begin using recycled water from the wastewater treatment plant for landscape irrigation. On this coming Tuesday, they will be blending the water from Pico Creek with one of their wells, less than a mile away from the ocean, to decrease the saltiness in the water.

Charles Grace, general manager of the San Simeon Community Services District, says this also happened in 2008 and the mid-1980's. He said the increased salt in the water affects the taste, color and odor. Two doctors at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center also say that elevated levels of salt in water do not pose a health risk.

San Simeon has Stage 2 water conservation measures in place. People are drinking bottled water and are asked to not wash their cars.

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