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Why some tap water in Roseville is coming out with a green tint

The city of Roseville said the water discoloration is purely an esthetics issue and the water is safe to drink.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Since Thursday, people living in Roseville have reported seeing a green or yellow tint to their tap water. This comes after that bomb cyclone storm northern California experienced only a week before.

The storm sent a lot of water into the Folsom Reservoir, a full 15 feet in a 24 hour period. The same body of water that the city of Roseville pulls their water from.

“Essentially what we saw was over 200 days of no measurable precipitation in the area and then we had a sudden, very significant, very historic storm that took all of that organic manner that was up in the upper watershed and basically moved that organic matter into the Folsom Reservoir," Sean Bigley, the assistant environmental utilities director for the City of Roseville said.

A few days later, people reported noticing a green tint to their tap water. 

One commenter on the city’s utilities Facebook page posted a photo on Saturday of what her child’s bath looked like with a green tint. She also shared a photo showing leftover silt in the tub from the night before.

"What customers were seeing were either green coloration of the water, a slight coloration, as well as some brown coloration and that, it’s really a result of that organic matter that was washed suddenly into Folsom Reservoir," he said. 

Bigley said that’s because Roseville’s water treatment plants don’t have the technology to treat discoloration, although that is something they're now looking into.

"We’ve always had very clear water and we’ve never had to have technology to treat color issues until now,” he said. 

The City of Roseville Utilities Department said they are getting very close to this issue being resolved, with the number of customer calls dropping on Monday, complaining over discolored tap water. Between Thursday and Sunday, they received about 200 calls from customers about the issue. They serve more than 146,000 customers across Roseville. They want everyone in Roseville to know the water is safe to drink. 

"It's purely an esthetic issue, the water meets all drinking quality standards that we're required to meet and so it's absolutely safe to drink and to use," Bigley said.

And there’s some evidence, Roseville might not be the only city dealing with this issue. ABC10 also got a number of emails from families of Folsom State Prison inmates saying the same thing. 

“He called me and he was like oh don’t worry but the water is coming out like brownish greyish," Marilyn Chavez, the sister of an inmate at the Folsom State Prison said.

Chavez says her brother Juan, who has been staying at this prison for about three months now, called her about this issue on Friday, saying the discoloration was in the water used for everything from drinking to showering, doing laundry – and even cooking. 

"I’m very concerned about his health because with everything going on adding this, I don’t want him to get any bacteria from the water," she said.

ABC10 also reached out to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation about this issue and they confirmed this water discoloration has been reported in some areas of Folsom State Prison and California State Prison, Sacramento. They believe it is also because of the heavy rainfall from last week. 

But they say, based on regular testing being conducted, the water is safe to drink and the color is currently improving. 

Watch more ABC10: Covered California | How low-income Californians can get health insurance

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