Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my water sometimes taste or smell funny?
When your water tastes or smells funny, the problem might be in the water or it might not! Odors may actually be coming from your sink drain where bacteria grow on things that get trapped in the drain. Odor can also come from bacteria growing in water heaters - usually ones that have been turned off for awhile or have the thermostat set too low. Here are some ways to get rid of odd tastes or smells:
  • Chlorine: Chlorine is added to tap water to make sure that any harmful germs are killed. An easy way to get rid of the chlorine taste and smell is to let water sit in a glass for a few minutes. Then, put the water in a covered container and chill it in the refrigerator. Cold water tastes and smells better than water at room temperature.
  • Smells from the drain: To disinfect your drain take these steps. (Do not mix any drain cleaners or detergents with bleach; some combinations can create poisonous fumes!)
    1. Run cold water for 15 seconds then turn if off.
    2. Pour one to two cups of liquid laundry bleach down the drain(s) that smell. Pour the bleach slowly around the edges of the drain so that it runs down the sides. Be careful when you handle the bleach because it can irritate skin and damage clothing.
    3. If the smell is coming from a sink with a garbage disposal, turn the disposal on while the bleach is poured. This will spread the bleach around.
    4. Let the bleach sit in the drain for about 10 minutes ─ no longer.
    5. After 10 minutes, run the hot water for a few minutes to flush the bleach. Run water down the garbage disposal drain for the same amount of time.
    6. Repeat these steps if again if necessary.
What should I do if I'm experiencing taste and odor issues due to an algal bloom that is impacting my tap water?    
  • On occasion, mainly during periods of warm weather, CCWD can experience unusually large algal blooms in our source water, some consumers may experience some unpleasant taste and/or odor associated with their drinking water - musty, dirty or "earthy".  Some important information and tips to know:
  • Algal tastes and odors are purely aesthetic and pose no health risks.  CCWD continues to meet or exceed all Federal and State Drinking Water Regulations.
  • CCWD employs a number of treatment measures to remove algal tastes and odors; however, if they pass into the treated water distribution system, it may take a few days for them to dissipate.
  • Algal tastes and odors are more noticeable in hot water, rather than cold.  To reduce unpleasant taste and odor for drinking, fill a pitcher and chill the water. This practice also conserves water by avoiding running water through the tap until it is cold. Adding lemon helps too.
  • -   Ice may need to be replaced if made when taste and odors are present.
     -   Odor may persist in hot water longer than in cold water.  If this occurs, you may consider flushing your hot water tank.

Why does my water sometimes look dirty, cloudy or have a funny color?

From the time your drinking water is purified at a treatment plant until it arrives at your tap, it may pick up things along the way that change the way it looks. Sometimes this happens as close as your home's own plumbing.
  • Cloudy water: Water is cloudy when air gets in and makes tiny bubbles. The bubbles are harmless and will disappear if you let the water sit in a glass for a few minutes.
  • Dirty water: Usually when water looks dirty, it's because of changes in the way that the water delivery system is being operated. When the direction that water flows in the pipe is changed - for maintenance work on a water main, when a fire hydrant is broken in a car accident, or there is a break in a water main - materials at the bottom of the pipes get stirred up. Usually, the water looks dirty for a short time and you shouldn't drink it until it looks clear. A way to speed the dirty water out of your own pipes is to run cold water through all of your faucets for a few minutes. If the water is still not clear, then do the same thing again every half hour or so. The problem should go away within 2 to 4 hours. If not, contact CCWD's Water Quality Hotline at (925) 688-8156 or your water utility.
  • Orange, red, brown or yellow water: Rust can turn water orange, red, brown or yellow. Rust gets into the water from two places: your water utility's pipes or your own plumbing. To find out if the colored water is related to a plumbing problem on your property or your water heater, fill a large white bowl or bucket with water from the hose bib or faucet closest to the your water meter. Let the water run for two full minutes and then fill the bucket or bowl with water. If it is clear, then the problem is most likely related to the inside plumbing or water heater. If not, contact CCWD's Water Quality Hotline at (925) 688-8156 or your water utility..
How can I find out more about what's in my water?
Every year CCWD publishes an annual water quality report. The free report gives the results of the tests it does in order to make sure your water meets federal and state drinking water regulations. The report also explains where your water comes from and includes other useful information.

Respective Utility Contacts

  • CCWD Water Quality Hotline: 925 -688-8156
  • City of Antioch: 925-779-7024
  • City of Martinez: 925-372-3587
  • City of Pittsburg: 925-439-6966
  • Diablo Water District (Oakley): 925-625-2112
  • Golden State Water Co. (Bay Point): 800-999-4033

FAQs in Spanish