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Musty water in the Inland Empire: Officials say algae bloom isn't dangerous

File: Water runs from a tap. Some Inland Empire residents have had funny smelling water recently.
File: Water runs from a tap. Some Inland Empire residents have had funny smelling water recently. VOISHMEL/AFP/Getty Images

Inland Empire residents are being reassured that the musty smell in their water pipes is nothing that will hurt them. Algae are blooming in the canals and reservoirs that import water into the region from Northern California. The algae are not harmful to humans, but they generate stinky chemicals, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California officials said.

"The earthy taste and smell stem from an especially large and persistent algae bloom in the east branch of the State Water Project,'' said Jim Green, the district's manager of water system operations. "Metropolitan receives a major portion of its water through the SWP's east branch, which includes Silverwood Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, and we are working with the state Department of Water Resources which owns and operates the state system to address the situation."

Green suggested consumers consider refrigerating drinking water to help improve its taste until the problem diminishes, which might take a few more weeks.

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