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Water still 'taste, smell like dirt?' City of San Diego says issues should be gone soon

City says the "earthy" taste and odor was caused by an algae bloom that formed at Lake Murray. The water is not toxic and still safe to drink.

SAN DIEGO — City of San Diego residents reached out to us two weeks ago saying their water "tastes like dirt." 

CBS 8 worked to get an answer from the city. We were told the change in the water's taste and smell was expected to be gone within a few days.

Residents in North Park said their water is still tasting and smelling strange.

"It just tastes off when you brew your coffee. It's like your coffee with a little side of mold," Quan Nguyen said.

He has lived in North Park for 10 years. Nguyen started noticing the issues at the beginning of the month and says they haven't improved by much.

"Turned the tap on and it smelled like mold again," he said. "The smell wasn't as bad as it was, but it still tastes off with this moldy smell to it."

When we first brought you this story two weeks ago, people living in Banker's Hill, Hillcrest, Golden Hill and other neighborhoods reached out to us with concerns about their water.

"I saw other people had similar issues that the water tasted off so I knew it wasn't just me," Nguyen said.

The city said water from Lake Murray was drawn down to prepare for a Fourth of July fireworks event. During that same time the city says an algae bloomed formed, "which caused drinking water from the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant to have an “earthy” odor and taste."

The city said the taste and odor can be blamed on an organic compound called MIB. It’s not toxic and the tap water is passing all regulations.

Some locals have noticed Lake Murray flooded the shoreline.

"Been living here since 1968 and haven't seen it that high before," said Joel Scheposh, a La Mesa resident. 

To help the algae bloom go away, the city says it temporarily stopped using water from Murray which then caused the lake to rise.

"You can see on that brick structure where it was raised up two to three feet on that brick fireplace over there," said Scheposh.

The city said the lake's levels will go back down as they start using its water again.

CBS 8 reached out to the city Tuesday and asked why people living in the central part of the city are still dealing with this problem, the city said it expects the taste and odor issues to be gone soon but didn't give any timeline.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego residents say water 'tastes like dirt' (July 2022)

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