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San Diego residents say water 'tastes like dirt'

City said the taste and odor of water is caused by an organic compound called MIB and they expect it to be gone in the next few days.

SAN DIEGO — If you take a sip of water and something doesn’t taste right, you’re not alone. Many of city of San Diego water customers reached out to us saying their water tastes or smells like dirt.

"It smells like a soapy sewage smell," said David Feaster, who lives in Banker's Hill.

A local apartment manager, who wished to remain anonymous, got a similar complaint from her tenants.

"Last Wednesday, I got a phone call from a property on Nutmeg in Banker's Hill saying his water from the tap tasted like dirt," she said.

People living in Banker's Hill, Hillcrest, Golden Hill, North and South Park reached out to CBS 8 and said their water's taste or smell has changed.

"At first I just mentioned to my partner like, 'hey, maybe it's our faucet, maybe it's our shower head, maybe we need to clean with different products,'" Feaster said. "After a while I was like, maybe it's something else."

CBS 8 reached out to the San Diego County Water Authority and the city. 

Arian Collins, a spokesperson from the city of San Diego, said water customers may experience a temporary change in the taste and odor of the drinking water caused by an organic compound called MIB.

Some kinds of algae and bacteria can be found in lakes and reservoirs and advanced treatments could remove them. MIB concentrations are known to increase in the summer months when levels are low and water temperatures warm up.

"It's like once or twice I'll smell it during the day but after a while I'm getting used to it which is not good," Feaster said.

The city of San Diego said the following: 

"While the taste and odor can be unpleasant, MIB does not have any adverse health effects and is NOT toxic or harmful." 

The drinking water is produced by the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant. That plant provides water for customers in the central section of the city. 

Collins said the taste and odor issues are expected to be gone within a few days. He said the city's water is monitored 24 hours a day and continues to meet state and federal drinking water standards.

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