Algae clogs Menlo Park water lines

CalWater and SFPUC recommend cleaning filters

California Water customers in Menlo Park may have been wondering what's up their pipes after experiencing low water pressure during the past month. In a word -- algae.

CalWater provides service to 18,800 addresses in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. According to district manager Tony Carrasco, water drawn from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) system "is experiencing naturally occurring algae blooms in its water supply source. As a result, some customers are experiencing difficulty with aeration screens and home filtration systems becoming clogged. It is possible that lower water pressure is associated with the clogging."

The SFPUC said the algae presents a seasonal problem, although the factors responsible for the current bloom have yet to be determined.

"Recently, we have received some sporadic reports of clogged aerators, filters, and screens with algae from various customers in the regional system," said Tyrone Ju, director of communications. "We are currently investigating and will report back on our action when we have determined the cause. In the meantime, people experiencing a decrease in pressure or flow are advised to simply remove the aerators, filters, and other screens to clean them."

In an online post to its customers, CalWater said the algae presents no health hazards. Both water utility companies are cleaning their screens and filters more often, and they suggest customers do the same.

Contact CalWater at 558-7800 for more information.


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Posted by Central Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

The hot and cold water screens on the washer were almost completely clogged with brown algae - after cleaning the filters, our wash cycle went from an hour to under 20 minutes

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Posted by rodents
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I almost bought a new washing machine because it stopped working. The filters were stuffed with this brown goopy algae. Now the washer seems fine. So I have been drinking this stuff for a month?

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Posted by vegetable patio
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm


Counts as a serving of fruits and vegetables!

Add that to the lime in my G&T, and I'm almost to 5 a day!

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Posted by Willows resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm

We regularly (and for long before this "recent" algae) have to replace our washing machine filter, sink filters, and irrigation filters. In my opinion this is not a recent issue at all: it's been going on for quite some time, and we really don't understand why.

Intuitively, algae emerges from standing water that is allowed to breed the algae. Where could this be happening? I assume there are filters at the water distribution system intake: how are those performing? Do they need to be cleaned and/or replaced often? Or are they missing altogether?

I appreciate Mr. Carrasco's words but I question the completeness of his report and feel there must be missing information. Let's be transparent here and get to the root cause and solution.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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