Water quality

Changes to taste and smell of water

The East Bay Municipal Utility District has adjusted water treatment operations to prepare for necessary upgrades to the Orinda Water Treatment Plant.

In early September, EBMUD’s San Pablo and Upper San Leandro Water Treatment Plants were brought online delivering water from our local Bay Area Reservoirs. As with similar operational changes throughout the year, customers may experience a difference in taste and smell as they receive new source water. All delivered water continues to meet all state and federal regulations for drinking 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.

By November 1, all customers west of the Oakland hills will receive different source water. The Orinda Water Treatment Plant will be offline from November 2016 to April 2017. The San Pablo and Upper San Leandro plants will remain in service for the duration of the Orinda outage.

In operation since 1935, the Orinda Water Treatment Plant is the work horse of EBMUD’s system. Improvement work includes upgrades to construct redundant power systems, upgrade water treatment processes and improve treatment configurations to allow easier maintenance during plant operation.

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.

To help assess a taste and smell issue, please review our water quality FAQs. If you have questions or concerns regarding your water quality, call EBMUD at 1-866-403-2683.

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 2015, 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.

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