By John Ramos

PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A simple water source switch has Peninsula officials fielding complaints from residents about the taste of the water coming from their taps.

“We’re receiving some complaints from customers that they’re noticing a change in taste and odor of the water coming from their taps,” Palo Alto Utilities Communications Manager Catherine Elvert said.

Palo Alto buys its water from San Francisco, which gets theirs from the pristine Sierra snowmelt that collects at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. But on the Monday before last, the San Francisco Public Utility Commission began mixing in water from a different source – the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant.  Sometimes when that happens, it can change the taste.

“You’re increasing the turbidity levels, you’re stirring up some naturally occurring sediment in our system, and that’s what’s causing the taste changes,” SFPUC Spokesperson Charles Sheehan said.

The city says they were warned this switch would happen in order to perform maintenance on the system and they’re testing the water each day to assure its purity – it just happens to smell and taste a little weird to some people.

“Well, my first reaction is I think we need to tell people just to suck it up.  Things change. Get over it,” Palo Alto resident Joshua Lay said.

Either way, the taste change is temporary and should settle down in a few days.  And then Palo Alto can go back to being a place where there’s hardly anything to complain about.