Water quality

Back on tap! Orinda Water Treatment Plant now online, serving Sierra water to East Bay

EBMUD's Orinda Water Treatment Plant is now back online following the successful completion of critical upgrades.

Sierra mountain water is now back to the taps of many East Bay customers. As with similar operational changes throughout the year, customers may experience a difference in taste and smell as they receive the usual Mokelumne River source water. 

EBMUD makes operational changes throughout the year to manage water supplies, adjust for customer water demands and to accommodate maintenance projects. Operational changes – when we shift deliveries from water supply sources or reservoirs – can occasionally change the taste and smell of your tap water.

Since the shutdown of the Orinda Water Treatment Plant last November, to ensure uninterrupted water delivery, customers west of the Oakland hills had received source water from our local Bay Area Reservoirs treated at the Sobrante, San Pablo and Upper San Leandro Water Treatment Plants. 

In operation since 1935, the Orinda Water Treatment Plant is the heart of EBMUD's system. Much of this critical $22 million project was comprised of work done underground, invisible to customers. This complex work improves the reliability of the Orinda Water Treatment Plant by adding backup power systems, upgrading water treatment processes and improving treatment configurations to allow easier maintenance during plant operation. By investing in the upgrades now, EBMUD can keep maintenance costs down in the long run and keep water flowing to our customers.

Regardless of reservoir source or operational adjustment, all customers receive high-quality drinking water that meets or surpasses all state and federal regulatory requirements. EBMUD's laboratory tests every day to ensure that water quality meets EPA and state standards.

snowmelt.jpgOne of the most important factors in water quality is the source: the purer the source, the better the water. EBMUD's primary water source is Sierra Nevada snowmelt.

Before water reaches your tap, EBMUD takes many steps to ensure its quality. This includes carefully managing and protecting watershed lands and reservoirs, treating the water, maintaining that quality through a complex system of distribution pipes, pumping plants and reservoirs, testing water samples in our lab and in the field, and addressing consumer concerns.

Ninety percent of EBMUD's water comes from the 577-square mile watershed of the Mokelumne River on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

Every day of the year EBMUD's laboratory tests water samples to ensure that water quality meets EPA and state standards, checking for trace organics like pesticides, metals, and microbes. These efforts ensure that all customers receive high-quality drinking water that meets or surpasses all state and federal regulatory requirements. 

Annual water quality report 

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EBMUD is pleased to report that in 2016, your drinking water met or surpassed every state and federal public health requirement. If you would like a report mailed to you, please email us or call 510-986-7555.

Spanish and Chinese versions of the 2016 report will be available soon.

Previous years' reports can be viewed on the Archives page. The 2015 water quality report is available in Spanish and Chinese

Water quality FAQs

Customers may have similar water quality concerns. Find answers to the most common water quality questions in our Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you still have questions, concerns or problems regarding water quality, such as taste, odor, appearance, etc., or if you have a water quality emergency, please contact us at 1-866-403-2683.

Water treatment

Every drop of water that comes out of your tap is first treated at one of our treatment plants. EBMUD's six water treatment plants in the East Bay can filter and process more than 375 million gallons of water daily.

Water sampling and testing

In laboratories and in the field, EBMUD samples and tests your water extensively to make sure it is safe to drink. We look for more than 100 substances in the water including microorganisms, pesticides, herbicides, asbestos, lead, copper, petroleum products and by-products of industrial and water treatment processes. More than 20,000 annual laboratory tests ensure the safety of your drinking water.

Lead information

Events in Flint, Michigan have placed a spotlight on lead levels in drinking water and the potential health issues associated with lead. EBMUD meets and surpasses all state and federal drinking water requirements, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule. Learn more