Complaints about cloudy water spiked this month 

The number of water customers phoning The City to complain about cloudy water increased this month.

The cloudiness is the harmless result of tiny air bubbles that disappear shortly after water flows out of a tap and is allowed to settle.

The bubbles are caused by drinking water gushing through narrow pipelines.

The bubbles started to appear in early January, when The City and Peninsula began relying on local water supplies due to a major pipe shutdown between the Bay Area and Yosemite National Park water reservoirs. Such shutdowns have been scheduled during the past several winters.

“When we take that water source offline, we have to increase production from our local sources,” San Francisco Public Utilities Commission water supply and treatment manager David Briggs told The Examiner recently. “Based on the velocity and the energy and the flow rate in this particular pipeline, it tends to entrain air.”

Complaints about the bubbles spiked in February, according to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Maureen Barry.

“We really hadn’t received any calls in January, and then all of a sudden we started getting this spate of calls,” Barry said. “We probably had pockets where we had more air bubbles than we’ve had in the past THAT are surfacing, particularly in the northern Peninsula and in The City.”

The cloudiness should disappear after Feb. 15 when the shutdown is scheduled to en, according to Barry.

Barry said the bubbles are harmless.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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