Morro Bay residents and businesses may have noticed their tap water is a bit different than normal, as the city goes through the annual State Water Project Maintenance Shutdown, now through Nov. 16.
Damaris Hanson with the City Public Works Department, said, “During the shutdown, the City will use our groundwater wells from the Morro Valley. Due to the high level of nitrates in this aquifer, this water must be treated prior to distribution to the residents. The City treats this water at the Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis (BWRO) treatment plant to remove the nitrates prior to distribution.”
The BWRO used to a seawater desalination plant that treated brackish groundwater pumped from wells along the Embarcadero but the City gave up on the plant after it was neglected for years and removed its capability to treat seawater. It was re-outfitted to treat groundwater instead and filters nitrates out of the well water at Lila Keiser Park before piping that water to the Kings Avenue water storage tanks via a so-called “blending” pipeline.
They’ve changed the disinfection used for this well water too. “During the treatment process,” Hanson said, “the water department uses the ‘free Chlorine’ method of disinfection. Customers may experience brief periods of higher chlorine odor due to the change in disinfectant. If this happens, it is suggested residents flush the faucets to run water through the system for 10-15 seconds. The City water system will continue to meet all Federal and State drinking water standards during this time.”
The shutdown notice comes after the City advised everyone that the tap water — State Water — was again suffering an algae bloom in the source water in the Sacrament Delta due to high temperatures in Northern California. The algae bloom, which the City said posed no health threats, made the water have an “earthy” smell and taste.
Hanson also reminds everyone to conserve water. “Morro Bay,” Hanson said, “is currently under severely restricted water conservation requirements. Please continue to conserve water and limit the amount of water used outdoors.” See: www.morrobayca.gov/waterconservation for information on current water restrictions and more ways to conserve water.
If readers have questions about the water, call Hanson and (805) 772-6265.