New York

Why Has NYC Tap Water Tasted Different Lately?

"It tastes nasty," some residents say

What to Know

  • Some New York City residents want to know why their tap water tastes different
  • While the city fixes the Catskill reservoir system, t's increased by up 20% the water that Manhattan and Bronx get from Croton Reservoir
  • The city says the reservoir has different minerals and tastes different but is still safe; but after pressure, decided to back off that mix

Typically New Yorkers take for granted that their tap water tastes good and is safe, but lately some have noticed it tastes different. 

Laree Boone of the Bronx says it tastes "dirty"; Myrna Calderon of the Fordham Hill Tenant Association calls it "nasty." 

Bronx councilman Fernando Cabrera, who himself calls the water "nasty, distasteful and brackish," doesn't believe the city's reassurance that the tap water is as good as ever. 

"Our tongue is telling us otherwise," said Cabrera. "We are doing our own testing to find out what's going on."

What's going on, according to the Department of Environmental Protection, is that their residents often get a combination of different aqueducts in their water. Now the city is repairing the Catskill reservoir system, and during the fix, it has increased by up to 20 percent the water that Manhattan and Bronx residents get instead from the Croton reservoir. That reservoir has different minerals and tastes different. 

"NYC tap water is tested hundreds of times every day, and it is 100 percent safe -- meets or exceeds all health and safety regulations," said a city spokesman. 

Calderdon said in response, "That doesn't make me comfortable. We all know about Flint, Michigan. We've been lied to before." 

With so many residents demanding more reassurance, they got it Monday -- the has city decided to back off the Croton portion of the daily tap water mix while it readies the longer-term construction project later this fall. 

Some just wanted more warning.

"I think we have a right to know you switched the water over, so we have to option to use bottled water," said Calderon.

Bottled water isn't necessary, the city says. But like so many other things in New York, it's a matter of taste. 

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