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Bad taste in water is not dangerous, local officials say. It's natural

slo county water weird 9-2-22.jpg
Posted at 3:09 PM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 18:09:30-04

On Friday, officials on the Central Coast said strange tastes and smells in the water are unpleasant but harmless.

San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department and the City of Santa Maria both reached out to residents on social media to address concerns about musty or earthy tastes or smells in the water.

Though not pleasant, the unusual taste is not harmful, officials say, saying algae blooms induced by the heat have created compounds in local and state water supplies.

San Luis Obispo County said the presence of MIB, a chemical compound, is common in summer months and is higher than usual right now.

In San Luis Obispo County, affected communities include Morro Bay, Los Osos, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Oceano, Avila Beach and Shell Beach.

Santa Maria officials say the taste comes from blue-green algae blooms in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are affecting State Water Project customers, which includes city residents.

Some people may be especially sensitive to the taste, Santa Maria officials say. They recommend refrigerating drinking water or adding citrus.

County staff members as well as Central Coast Water Authority workers are working to reduce MIB levels and cut down the musty taste.