Your Drinking Water

Taste and Odor Concerns

Oftentimes, an odor that you might be smelling from your water is actually coming from your sink drain, not the water itself. Collect some water in a clean container, take it away from the sink, and smell the water. If there is no odor in the water, then the odor is most likely coming from the drain. To fix this, pour bleach down the sink drain, wait 15 minutes, and flush the drain with water. Repeat the process once more if the odor continues.

Contact your plumber if the odor has not been resolved after twice flushing the drain with bleach. There may be an internal plumbing issue or an issue with the water heater, which could require draining the water heater. If only one tap has a taste or odor issue, it is most likely an internal plumbing or drain issue, because the same water is coming through each tap of your residence or business.

We continuously monitor the chlorine levels in the water to ensure that it is in the proper concentration range. Using a controlled dosage of chlorine and chloramine disinfects the water, protects against waterborne diseases and ensures the water traveling to your home remains safe. Some people are more sensitive to the taste and smell of chlorine in the drinking water than others. Chilling drinking water in the refrigerator can help eliminate any unpleasant taste and odor.

Discolored Water or Sediment in Your Water

While seeing discolored water or sediment in your water is not aesthetically pleasant, it is not generally speaking, dangerous to your health. This can be caused by a disturbance from work on the water main in your neighborhood, pressure change or fire hydrant flow testing, which can cause settled minerals or sediment in the pipe to stir up. Flush all taps in your home or business for 2 – 5 minutes (you can collect this water to put on your plants or outdoor landscape). This will help flush out the discolored water or sediment.

Discolored water or sediment in the water can also be due to corrosion of internal pipes, especially if a water softener is used in your home. Flushing your faucets for 1- 2 minutes should also resolve this issue. If only one tap has this water quality issue, it is most likely an internal plumbing issue.

Air can also make its way into the distribution system, forming tiny bubbles that can give the water a cloudy or milky appearance. Air in tap water poses no health risks or reason for concern. If the milkiness does not disappear, but instead sinks slowly to the bottom of the glass, it is most likely due to zinc or other residue. The water is still safe to drink. LBUD does not use zinc in the treatment process; however, zinc can make its way into home plumbing when galvanized pipes break down. Zinc that has collected in your plumbing can be removed by allowing the faucet to flow for a few minutes each morning before use.

Fluoride Regulations

Fluoride occurs naturally in water sources throughout California. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly agree that fluoridated water helps promote dental hygiene and reduces the risk of cavities in children and adults.

For these reasons, and because it is a cost-effective public health measure, the Long Beach City Council mandated in 1971 that LBUD fluoridate its water. LBUD targets the lowest mandated level of fluoride concentration of 0.7 mg/L in its water.

You can read more about fluoridation in water and oral health at

Water Temperature

Long Beach Utilities only delivers unheated water to your home or business. It is either gas or electricity that is used to heat up the water. If you are having an issue with hot water, please contact the utilities below.

Residences typically have water heaters that are used to provide hot water for the house, apartment or condominium. If you are not getting hot water from your hot water faucets or showers, contact a plumber for help.

Sometimes, the temperature of your water may be affected by the outside temperatures. Fill your water container and place it in the refrigerator for colder water.

Water Softeners or Filters

Your drinking water is considered “moderately hard” to “hard.” The “hardness” of water refers to the level of specific dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. The more dissolved minerals in the water, the harder the water is, and vice-versa.

If you decide to purchase a water filter, please ensure to maintain the device according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Water filters must be regularly cleaned to eliminate any bacterial growth that can form from improper care.

The installation and use of a home water softener is a personal preference.

Please note, salt softeners replace the calcium and magnesium in the water with sodium. The addition of sodium to the water can be a concern for dialysis patients or people with high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney failure. As an alternative, residents may choose to install a water softener only for their hot water supply. If you have health concerns, please speak to your doctor about their recommendation for you to add a water softener in your home.

Lead & Copper Exposure

Water Treatment

We take our responsibility to protect our water customers from lead exposure seriously.

We continually conduct strict monitoring in accordance with regulatory requirements on our distribution system.

In 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency instituted the Lead and Copper Monitoring Rule in an effort to limit lead in the drinking water. This rule is unique in that samples are collected from the customers’ tap, not within the system where the majority of the water quality monitoring and testing usually takes place. If the requirement is not met, then the utility must institute a technology that controls the level of lead and copper reaching the consumer, most commonly through a practice known as “corrosion control.”

Lead in the drinking water can come from two sources. The first is from systems that contain lead in the distribution system, such as lead service lines. LB Utilities does not use this type of service line in the distribution system. The second source could be from lead-containing plumbing fixtures found in customers’ homes.

Elevated levels of lead in drinking water can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. LB Utilities is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water to your home up to your water meter. Homeowners should be aware of the variety of materials used in home plumbing fixtures, some of which may contribute to lead in the water once inside the home. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using the water for cooking or drinking.

If you have questions about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested by LB Utilities or an independent laboratory. Additional information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or online at

If you have additional questions about your drinking water please contact the Long Beach Utilities Water Quality Laboratory at (562) 570-2479.