11/01/2011 06:59 pm ET Updated Jan 01, 2012

Blue-Green Algae Contaminates San Francisco Water

Has your juice gone bad? Is there mold in your building's washing machine? Or is it that new dish soap that's causing everything to smell and taste funky? According to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, it's the water.

In a release on the commission's website, the SFPUC reported that San Francisco water has seen a spike in blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) due to an algae bloom in the Calaveras reservoir. The algae is highly common (present in nearly every water source) and tends to multiply in warmer weather. But at high levels, it can cause rashes and allergic reactions, and, at very high levels, can cause serious illness or death

Fortunately, according to the SFPCU, the current level in San Francisco water is not enough to harm anyone, but is enough to lend a foul taste and smell to your evening tea.

"The algae bloom causes taste and odors in the drinking water, but is not a health concern," said the SFPUC in a release. "The levels we are talking about are so small that it is not a health-related issue. [...] The impact of this algae bloom is only aesthetic in nature."

San Francisco pulls water from several sources, but according to SFGate, the city has been taking a higher percentage than usual from Calaveras in an effort to drain the reservoir so workers can begin a dam replacement project.

The SFPUC predicted that the water would return to normal by early next week. Until then, San Franciscans can use carbon filters or refrigerate water to alleviate the odor and taste. And we might recommend holding off on that bubble bath.