RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California reported Friday that residents in portions of Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino Counties and east Los Angeles County may notice a foul odor and musty taste in their tap water but that it is not a health hazard.

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They also said the situation could persist for weeks and the severity of the problem will vary from region to region.

“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, Metropolitan’s manager of water system operations.

Green added, “Consumers, however, can be assured that the taste and odor issues they may be experiencing in their tap water do not pose any health risks.”

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Green suggested that consumers refrigerate their tap water to help improve the taste.

DWR water quality experts are treating the algae bloom with copper sulfate. They say the treated water is safe for consumption and poses no threat to wildlife.

Metropolitan member and retail agencies impacted by the problem include the Eastern Municipal Water District in western Riverside County; the city of Pasadena, Foothill Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District and the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in eastern Los Angeles County.

Also affected Inland Valley Utilities Agency and Cucamonga Valley Water District in western San Bernardino County; and the city of Huntington Beach, the Municipal Water District of Orange County and Irvine Ranch Water District.

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