News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Temporary Cloudy Appearance in Water; Remains Safe to Drink
Contact : John Reinert, Water Transmission Supervisor, City of Palo Alto Utilities    650-496-6967
Palo Alto, CA -- Starting the week of January 7, 2008 drinking water for some San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) customers in portions of the Peninsula, South and East Bay may temporarily appear cloudy or milky-white in color when drawn from the tap. This temporary change is caused by a change in system water distribution and does not affect the quality of the drinking water. Air bubbles from the treatment of local reservoir water may cause temporary cloudiness, but water continues to meet or exceed all drinking water quality standards.

The SFPUC notified the City of the following information about the water being delivered to Palo Alto:

"The cloudy or milky-white appearance is due to air bubbles in the water.  Because of on-going system maintenance, SFPUC customers are receiving water from local reservoirs exclusively, and not Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The increased rate of treatment at the SFPUC’s Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant causes air to be mixed into the water, which in turn makes it look cloudy or milky.  The SFPUC’s water continues to meet all state and federal regulatory requirements for water quality. This temporary change involves the appearance of the water only."

The City of Palo Alto advises local water users to let their water stand for a few minutes and the cloudiness will dissipate as the air bubbles rise to the surface and break apart.

The cloudy appearance will dissipate when Hetch Hetchy supplies reach the Bay Area after the completion of work, which is expected to take place in February 2008.

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