Dos Palos residents concerned about tap water

DOS PALOS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Residents are raising concerns about the tap water in Dos Palos, But city leaders insist it's safe.

Some residents said the water that comes out of their faucets has a brownish tint, a strange smell, and a bad taste. The city manager tells Action News it's all because of extra algae in the water supply, but, says the treatment it receives makes it perfectly safe to drink.

The water coming out of Rochelle Meraz's kitchen faucet was clear Monday afternoon, with just a slight odor, but she says it often has a brownish tint. "Normally at night and during the early morning hours, it has a strong chemical smell to it. It tastes like dirt, literally as if some kid was playing with sand and got it in your water, and you're drinking it, that's what our water is here," Meraz explained.

Other residents shared similar concerns, but city manager Darrell Fonseca says the water is safe. "We test our water several times a day, at several different locations, and it goes without saying the water would not be delivered unless it was safe."

Fonseca says the color is the result of increased algae in the water that's being pumped in from the California aqueduct during the drought. "This occurs, at least, the last few years now, because as the water supplies that feed the aqueduct get down to the lower levels in the reservoirs. The water that's been stored longer tends to have more algae in it and requires greater treatment."

Back in 2013, the algae-clogged the city's filtration system, so officials had to temporarily shut off the water and install new filters. Fonseca says they are working properly, and he encourages anyone with concerns to contact the water department. But Meraz has decided to buy drinking water instead. "We use the water for tea, Kool Aid, and my kids drink this water, and when I see it brown, it's kind of questionable, should my kids be drinking this or not?"

Fonseca says the city is working to secure both federal and state funding for an entirely new water system, but that is a multi-year process. But he says even right now, the water here typically has a lower level of total dissolved solids than bottled water.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.