Tag Archives: East Bay Municipal Utility District

Berkeley residents complain about ‘horrible’ water taste

Pardee Reservoir. Photo: EBMUD
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The drinking water for 1 million customers of East Bay Municipal Utilities District had an “off” odor and taste over the weekend and, while EBMUD is fixing the issue, customers might have to get used to it.

The culprit? The drought.

EBMUD usually draws the drinking water for the majority of its customers from the bottom of Pardee Reservoir, about 100 miles east of Berkeley, according to Abby Figueroa, a spokeswoman for EBMUD. But on Thursday, the water district started taking water from the top portion of the reservoir. The water there is warmer and contains some algae, so even though it was treated before gushing into pipes in Berkeley, Oakland and elsewhere, there was a peculiar smell.

Read more about the California drought.

It takes about two days for the water to make its way to the Bay Area and when it arrived Saturday there was a flurry of emails and tweets to Berkeleyside about it. Figueroa said EBMUD has gotten about 200 emails, tweets, and phone calls about the taste as well.

Residents described the water as tasting like “raw meat,” or having a “metallic taste.” Others said it was “gross-smelling,” “horrible” or “weird.” … Continue reading »

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EPA settlement calls for repairs to East Bay’s faulty sewage lines; Berkeley to pay $133,500 civil penalty

Windsurfer on the bay. Photo, taken on May 28, 2014, by dogefrost
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The recent settlement of a lawsuit between the Environmental Protection Agency and several cities, including Berkeley, will lead to major repairs of the East Bay’s deteriorating sewage system — and less wastewater discharge into the bay.

The federal government had sued Berkeley, Oakland, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), among others, to stop sewage overflows that released hundreds of millions of gallons of raw or partially untreated sewage water in the Bay. The spillage could be particularly acute during heavy rains, as storm water enters the East Bay sewage system through flaws in the aging pipes. … Continue reading »

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Old pipe breaks, closes Grant Street in Berkeley; 40 customers without water

Bancroft Way at Grant Street at 11 a.m. after a water main break. Photo: Kelly Dorsey
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Dozens of central Berkeley residents around Grant Street and Bancroft Way have been dealing with a water main break since Friday morning.

Grant has been closed from Allston Way to Bancroft as crews work to fix the problem. Some lanes may be reopened as the work continues.

East Bay Municipal Utility District spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said customers called to report water in the street and lower-than-normal water pressure at 11 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley installs first permeable pavers downtown

The construction site on Allston Way. Photo: Charles Siler
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Traffic may be rough come school season, but the construction project closing Allston Way outside Berkeley High School is significant: the city’s first major permeable pavement installation.

The block of Allston between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Milvia Street in downtown Berkeley is shut down for construction until mid-November while the city installs new environmentally friendly pavement, according to the city.

The new permeable interlocking concrete pavement will absorb water, rather than redirecting it to a storm drain the way traditional asphalt does. This has a number of advantages, including better heat dispersal and cleaner runoff water, according to the city Public Works Commission. … Continue reading »

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New drought rules would see Berkeley reduce its water use

A Downtown Berkeley Association employee powerwashes the sidewalk at the corner of Shattuck and Center. Photo: Isabelle Gaston
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This week the state Water Resources Control Board will consider emergency restrictions on water use that would require the city of Berkeley to impose fines for certain types of outdoor water use.

If approved, the Water Board’s drought measures would require Berkeley to levy fines of up to $500 for excessive water use while  cleaning sidewalks, watering plants, cleaning cars, or operating outdoor fountains.

This will be good news to some Berkeley residents, who have noticed some businesses using large amounts of water around town. Isabelle Gaston, president of the Northeast Berkeley Association, emailed Councilman Jesse Arreguín recently about the Downtown Berkeley Association’s use of power-washers to clean the sidewalks in the downtown neighborhood.

“One can see in the photos the large pools of water accumulating on the sidewalks,” wrote Gaston in her email. “I would think a good sweeping would be sufficient given the severity of our water shortage.”

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Steps we can take towards long-term drought solutions

Drought
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Many of us waited for months for Governor Jerry Brown to make official what our reservoirs and landscapes had already been showing: California’s water situation is dire. This isn’t the first time the state has weathered drought conditions, and, according to reports from government agencies and climatologists, these conditions may only worsen.

The water agency that covers Berkeley, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, recently issued guidelines on water use reductions (reservoir levels are only 63% of normal) and is … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley streets flooded after water main breaks

Flooding on Parker Street near Longfellow School. Photo: Mark Coplan
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Authorities responded to significant flooding in the area of California and Parker streets in Berkeley on Friday afternoon after what has been reported to be a water main breakage.

Crews from EBMUD and the Berkeley Fire Department were on scene from around 5 p.m. working to turn off the water supply in the area. Communications between authorities heard on the scanner suggested Public Works was asked to bring sandbags. … Continue reading »

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EBMUD asks East Bay customers to cut water use by 10%

Recent storms provided 7 inches of rain for EBMUD, but xxx. Photo: Pete Rosos
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In one of the driest years ever, EBMUD is asking East Bay residents to stretch water supplies and cut their usage by 10%. Without enough rain, the utility may still have to declare a water shortage emergency this spring, it said.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District, which provides provides water and sewage treatment to customers in the East Bay, released a statement Tuesday that spelled out the severity of the current, ongoing drought.

“EBMUD relies on snowmelt and runoff for almost all of its supply. As of this weekend, the amount of snow and rain in the Mokelumne River watershed 90 miles from the East Bay is 49% of normal,” it said in a release. Recent storms provided about seven inches of rain for EBMUD. … Continue reading »

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Hallelujah! Prepare for a wet weekend in Berkeley

Rainy day dream away
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Steady coastal rains and heavy mountain snows are expected in Northern California throughout the weekend, with a high likelihood of rain in Berkeley through Sunday.

Showers began earlier this week. According to the National Weather Service, “Persistent onshore flow will keep conditions unsettled” across the Western United States through the weekend. … Continue reading »

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EBMUD logo

Update: 4:35 pm — Water should resume flowing to south Berkeley residents around 5 p.m., according to a spokesman for EBMUD.

The problem started around 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3. EBMUD crews went to fix a broken main in an area that has “redundancy,” said spokesman Charles Hardy. Crews shut down a 16-inch pipe only to find the problem was in a nearby 30-inch pipe, he said. EBMUD expects to put the 16-inch pipe back in service by 5 p.m., which should restore the water flow.

Original story: A 30-inch pipe on Claremont Avenue behind the Claremont Resort and Spa broke this morning and has caused a drop in water pressure in many homes and businesses in south Berkeley and north Oakland, according to residents and officials. … Continue reading »

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News

Where there’s smoke, there’s sewer testing

Smoke testing sign
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The City of Berkeley recently began a 10-year program of smoke testing the sanitary sewer system. The testing reveals places where there are defects or improper connections in the sewer system, and is particularly intended to find places where the separate stormwater drainage system may infiltrate into the sewers. Excess water into the sanitary sewers can overload the system, pump stations and treatment plants, and could cause overflow of untreated wastewater during storms.

“Berkeley has been pretty efficient in … Continue reading »

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