Are you Worried About Drinking Tap Water?

Marin's usually delicious tap water has been tasting a little different for some, thanks to blooming algae at reservoirs. Now we want to know how many of our readers regularly drink tap water. Vote in our poll below!


Blooming algae at some Marin reservoirs has and sparked some dialogue on Patch and our Facebook page about drinking water from the faucet.

In the last few days, many in Marin have recently noticed their tap water tastes differnet. While the blooming algae taste from the Nicasio Reservoir has been noticeable in Ross Valley and San Rafael, officials are handling a bloom at , according to a story in the . The water is all still perfectly safe to drink and the taste is expected to go away soon, . 

During discussions about the weird-tasting water, I was surprised to hear from some people who don’t drink tap water. Period.

I drink an excessive amount of water (I’ve even had doctors tell me to drink less) and consider myself a bit of a tap water connoisseur. I drink from the tap whenever I can, including the extremely copper-tasting, and at times yellow-tinted, water that ran from faucets while I was in college in Moscow, Idaho. Marin tap water is the most refreshing tap water I’ve had, hands down. And, until this recent algae bloom, has always been flavorless.

Attached is the Marin Municipal Water District 2012 Annual Water Quality Report, if you’re curious about just what is in your tap water. Everything meets, if not exceeds, state standards.  

What do you think? Are you worried about drinking tap water? Do you like the normal taste of Marin’s tap water? 

Kim Burggraf August 01, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I drink tap water because tests have shown that tap water is safer than bottled water as a general rule, however this last blast of algae formation has me disgusted and spooked so I'm drinking distilled bottled water. I hope they get it together and I also hope that the treatment used for the algae isn't detrimental to our health!
Cara August 02, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I'm so glad to see this article, the past week or so I kept thinking that the water tasted and smelled weird.
valeri hood August 02, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I am not so worried about the water as what they put in it. Although many municipalities no longer add flouride- a toxic byproduct of the aluminum smelting industry- Marin still does. It also adds chloramine- also considered a toxic product and banned by the state of New Jersey. Unlike chlorine, chloramine does not evaporated out of your water. Only the most expensive of water purification systems can remove flouride or chloramine- check out your water purifier- and none that I have researched take out 100% of either compound. Moreover, fluoride can combine with other chemicals in the water to make them even more harmful. For example, when chloramines combine with the fluoride in water, they work together to extract lead from old plumbing systems, which leads to the accumulation of lead in the water supply. www.anh-usa.org/new-scientific-data-forces-government-to-reverse-its-stance-on-fluoride-in-the-water-supply
valeri hood August 02, 2012 at 04:06 PM
more about fluoride and chloramine: Read the book "The Case Against Fluoride" or watch the video online at www.FluorideAlert.org <http://www.FluorideAlert.org> called "Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation." Toxic Secrets: Fluoride & the A-Bomb - (Nexus Magazine) -Joel Griffiths & Chris Bryson. Manhattan Project scientists and military men-developed the first atomic bomb & conducted secret studies of fluoride but hid the facts about its health hazards. The Dentist's Tale-Fluoride Can Kill -Story of a Dentist who talks to a chemist, is threatened with his practice, gets cancer and goes public. (The Ecologist, September 2000 Vol 30 No 6) FluorideAlert.org - An International Coalition to End Water Fluoridation & Alert People to Fluoride's Health and Environmental Risks EarthLife.org.za - Fluoride Fact Sheet - lethal doses, effects on body, side effects, environmental effects. Sukel.com - The Fluoride Controversy - synopsis of both sides. Chloramines: part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wpGusciErA part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqkM96bqymM&feature=related part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlnr4jfCp5U&feature=related http://chloramine.org/toxicshowersandbaths.htm What you breathe when you shower http://chloramine.org/
valeri hood August 02, 2012 at 04:18 PM
MMWD needs to be more responsible. My last concern is that we are now drinking a large percentage of Russian River water-contaminated with pharmaceuticals and other medicines, sewage, pcbs, pesticide/herbicide runoff from the wineries- these cannot be filtered out because they are too small- I would prefer that we go back to only taking water from our pristine watershed, stop importing Russian River water, and do more conservation, do more rebates and go back to chorine or something else. If we need to treat the water, we need to be able to take the toxic substances out of it afterwards. Marin has the highest breast cancer rate in the world. Our water needs to be safe and currently it is not. It is not just about taste!
Rico August 02, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I think that the MMWD water from the Mt. Tam watershed is probably some of the best quality in the country, the only reason that I don't drink it is because they add fluoride to it, and I don't use anything with added fluoride to it, it's strictly a personal choice about my health. The MMWD was the first public water agency in the State, before that, there were 24 separate private water companies serving Marin county, and none of them treated their water. Up until the 60's, the MMWD water was not treated in treatment plants. Then, due to new federal regulations, the public built the Bon Tempe and San Geronimo treatment plants. They still use the Pine Mountain tunnel near Fairfax. In that tunnel, there is also algae, but it would be too expensive (according to the MMWD) to drain the tunnel and clean it. So, it has been that way for over 70 years, long before they built Lake Nicasio which is shallow and has the algae blooms now. Marin is a very special place, and most of us take for granted many attributes like a good clean water source. In many and most other parts of the country, drinking water sources have been allowed to be contaminated by powerful corporations, it is a very serious problem. We all should be very thankful that in the creation of the MMWD, that the engineers wanted to be independent and build their own water source. There was pressure to instead get our water from the Russian River.
Rico August 02, 2012 at 04:49 PM
valerie, You are right about the quality of water from the Russian River, but the MMWD only uses about 19 % of the SCWA water in the northern most part of their system. That would be Marinwood, Terra Linda and Santa Venetia. All the other parts of the MMWD use water from the west Marin watershed (San Geronimo Valley and the upper Ross Valley), and the rest of the MMWD uses water from the Mt. Tam watershed. In around 2010, the SCWA cut back the allotment of water that the MMWD can use by 25 %, so, now they are using around 19 % Russian River in the norther part of the MMWD. In 2011, after the failed attempt to build a desalination plant, the GM at the time (Paul Helliker) declared a water surplus in the MMWD. Helliker stated that the SCWA water is not really needed now, but it is "drought insurance" in case of future low rainfall years. It was amazing to see Helliker in 2008 say that we had a water deficit to push for a desalination plant, and then have to announce that we actually have a water surplus, and then he did the right thing and resigned.
Vicki August 02, 2012 at 08:04 PM
In my house we filter MMWD water by reverse osmosis, to my knowledge the only filtering system that will remove molecules as tiny as fluoride. Then we have to "remineralize" the water because RO also removes trace minerals that we need. Fluoride is a known toxin that contaminates at least half of U.S. water supplies --for economic/political reasons that never had anything to do with dental health. Some communities in the U.S. have ceased the practice, but to date MMWD is not paying attention.
peggy August 02, 2012 at 11:07 PM
i do not drink tap water. i have a berkey. but the fact that our tap water is not safe to drink does not seem to be a red flag. the water board officials are elected and re-elected and re-elected even though our water is not potable. i would not vote for any official who does not address the fluoride issue. which of course means that i have never voted for a water board official. self-evident. wtf??
Alejandro Moreno S. August 02, 2012 at 11:57 PM
I do think Marin water is some of the best in the country, but the problem as stated above, is what certain water agencies then add to the water in order to supposedly make it "safe" for consumption. If you're hooked up to any type of water utility, you need to filter your water, period. Besides the chloramine and the fluoride, you don't know what the pipes are made of, or what's been accumulating in them since they were constructed. You also may not know what your own pipes in your own home are doing exactly either. And don't think one of those Brita single stage carbon filter deals is going to do the job (they're a joke actually). Not only do you need to filter your drinking water (with a high quality filter), but perhaps more importantly, you need to FILTER YOUR SHOWER WATER! This is because most of us take hot showers. When you heat up water, it makes steam. This steam carries any chlorine or chloramine that has been added to the water in a vaporous form, and then you breathe it into your lungs, as well as absorb it through your pores ALL OVER YOUR BODY. So you either need a filter on your kitchen sink and each shower, or you can take care of your home all at once with a larger filter system at the water supply's point of entry to your home. I used to sell water filtration systems a long time ago but I'm too out of the loop to recommend any now. Google it and do some research. I don't have this problem because I bought a home with its own (tested) wells.
Rico August 03, 2012 at 01:50 AM
That is a good point. Put a 3 stage reverse osmosis filter on the whole house, but that wouldn't cover the piping inside the house.So, even better put a filter on the sinks and showers. I am not a plumber by trade, but I might obtain a second license if people want to put filters at the intake of water for showers and sinks. I still have many good working years left, and if this idea takes off, it would be bonanza for me. I refuse to bid jobs, but I would estimate that the costs to put filters on a modest house with 3 sinks and 2 showers would be around $30,000 plus or minus a few thousand. Imagine doing 100 of such jobs per year !
valeri hood August 03, 2012 at 03:02 AM
the sad part is- who can afford such a system?- not everyone in marin is wealthy by a long shot- and definitely not educated about this- we had a chance a few elections ago to elect some people who would have served as watch dogs- instead of lap dogs for hellicker- too bad for marin- the safety of our food supply (gmo threat) water supply (desal threat and privitization) and air- don't even get me started- what a sad state of affairs.
valeri hood August 03, 2012 at 03:03 AM
25 people weighing in is not much of a poll
Rico August 03, 2012 at 04:33 PM
It is interesting to know that the San Geronimo treatment is fed by Kent Lake and Nicasio Lake. But, Nicasio is only used in the late summer (when the algae blooms). For the MMWD to activate the Tocaloma pumps is very expensive to the ratepayers. I remember reading back in 1980 that it costed us $8,000 per day for electricity to operate those pumps and use Nicasio water. I wonder how much more it costs us now since the MMWD has partnered with MCE/MEA as a middleman broker for electricity ? No wonder the water rates went up, it was to pay the middlemen electricity brokers and chemical suppliers. If the MMWD would stop using fluoride it might save us some money and improve our water quality too. Oh, but fluoride is a toxic industrial waste, so , maybe the officials actually collect toxic disposal fees for taking the fluoride from the corporations.
Jessica Mullins (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 05:19 PM
On a higher note, it seems like the tap water's blooming algae taste is starting to go away. Are y'all (other tap water drinkers) noticing that too?
Marilena August 06, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I have been noticing a mold/mildew smell coming from a bathroom sink/faucet but not from other faucets...perhaps someone can help me with this...I don't know what to do. I am one who cannot afford a water filtration system and want MMWD to stop adding fluoride to our water. I still use a Brita as it is all I can afford and the water does taste better. I have had it muscled-tested by my health practitioner and my body is OK with it. Even so, I want MMWD to stop adding this toxic chemical to our water. Can we get a petition going for Marinites to sign to demand they stop this practice? BTW, I am curious about the algae as spirulina is a very healthful one and I have seen a YouTube clip about making electricity using algae.


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