As businesses in California begin to open again after several weeks of closure, there are many tasks that need to be accomplished in order to open to the public safely. One such crucial task is flushing all of the building’s water systems to ensure optimal safe water quality. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website states, “The temporary shutdown or reduced operation of a building and reductions in normal water use can create hazards for returning occupants. Two potential microbial hazards that should be considered prior to reopening after a period of building inactivity are mold and Legionella (the cause of Legionnaires disease).”

The longer water sits in the pipes of buildings not in daily use, the more likely it is that these microbial hazards as well as lead, copper and chemicals will build up in the water supply. This doesn’t just apply to drinking water: water splashes from sinks, showers, water features and flushing toilets can release these organisms into the air, which can be very harmful if inhaled. It only takes a few days for these organisms and chemicals to reach unsafe levels in pipes, filters and water softeners. This means that after several weeks of disuse, it is absolutely essential to flush your building’s water systems with fresh water before reopening your business.

The first step is to identify all sources of potable water in your building. This includes, but is not limited to: all hot and cold water taps, toilets, showers, bathtub fixtures, ice makers and water dispensers in refrigerators and freezers, decorative water features, and drinking fountains. Once you have identified all potable water sources, you can begin flushing the water system.

Start by turning on all water taps with drains and let them run for 10-15 minutes. Also, check the drains to make sure they are clear and working properly. This may need to be done in sections by floor or room, depending on the size of the building. The goal is to clear any stagnant water in the building and replace it with fresh water.

While the taps are running, flush all toilets in order to empty the bowls and tanks and refill them with fresh water.

For your refrigerators and freezers:
Dispose of any old ice, and clean the machine. Dispose of any new ice for three to five cycles. Turn on any water dispenser taps to flush the system and refill to the water line in the refrigerator.

Clean all decorative water features, making sure there is no slime or film on the surfaces. Flush the system with fresh water, refill and add appropriate disinfectant.

If the hot water in the building has any sort of unusual odor, or if the manufacturer suggests draining the system after disuse, it is recommended that you drain and refill your water heater, making sure the temperature is set to at least 140°F.

Keep in mind that you may wish to equip anyone carrying out these procedures with PPE, such as face masks to reduce the risk of inhalation of airborne bacteria from water splashes. Following these steps is essential to ensuring the health of your staff and customers as we move forward towards returning to business as usual.

Further resources and information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html.

A massive part of our great state’s economy revolves around the agricultural industry. The state of California produces nearly half of the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States. California’s agriculture is responsible for billions of dollars in revenue each year; over 400 commodity crops are grown here, the top three being dairy, grapes, and almonds. With over 40 million acres (over a quarter of the state) dedicated to pastures, vineyards and crop fields, the impact of waste produced by California’s agricultural industry is no small concern.

Such a massive scale of agricultural production creates a large amount of waste. Agricultural runoff is a type of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, or pollution that comes from multiple sources. In relation to agriculture, sources of NPS pollution include sediment, fertilizer and pesticides, as well as bacteria, nutrients and waste fromAccording to the website for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “States report that nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems.” Irrigation and rainfall carries agricultural runoff away from its source, eventually ending up in rivers, lakes, coastal waters and wetlands – not to mention potentially contaminating our underground sources of drinking water. Because the pollution happens slowly over a long period of time, the water quality gradually declines, and in some case resulting in negative impacts to fish and wildlife habitat as well as eventual contamination of groundwater.”

agriculture animal animal photography blur

Given the importance of both California’s agricultural industry, it is essential to find ways to limit the damage caused by agricultural runoff. In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Center for Disease Control, increased regulations in an effort to improve water quality and control damage caused by agricultural runoff. Water quality control boards in each region are responsible for finding ways to regulate and enforce proper monitoring and management of any issues that affect water quality.

Locally the Western Riverside County Agriculture Council has implemented measures that support positive environmental stewardship relating to agricultural runoff in our region and protect our drinking water resources. Over the past 16 years, dairy and agricultural operators in the San Jacinto River Watershed have banded together to voluntarily reduce the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for nutrients released into our watersheds. The Total Maximum Daily Load is the term used to quantify the total amount of pollutants that can be safely released into waterways while meeting water quality standards.

DJI_0564

In order to qualify for new farming permits the Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) requires compliance from agricultural called a Conditional Waiver for Agricultural Discharges. These regulations are intended to improve water quality within the watershed, however some have expressed concern that the permitting fees can be excessive, the requirements are complicated and question whether the regulations are in fact benefiting the watershed. Regional collaborations such as Lake Elsinore and Canyon Lake TMDL Task Force or the Middle Santa Ana River TMDL Task Force, consisting of multiple agencies and organizations responsible for the TMDL compliance, have been formed by the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority to play an important role in finding effective solutions to protect drinking water resources. In partnership with the Regional Board, the task forces help ensure that the concerns from agriculture producers are shared and mutually beneficial ways to protect our vital water resources are explored.

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the United States, Americans are concerned for their health. Following self-distancing orders and taking precautions when leaving the house has becoming the “new-normal.” While staying at home and minimizing contact with others can limit potential exposure, are there dangers in our own home that can spread Coronavirus, such as our drinking water?

No, in fact the water that is delivered to your home is safe for drinking, bathing and washing. Your municipal water district is responsible for providing a reliable and safe water supply to your home every day. It must undergo rigorous treatment and requires mandated sampling and testing. The treatment, or disinfection, of the water delivered to homes and businesses rapidly facilitates the die-off of the COVID-19 virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Water agencies in Southern California continue to monitor for public health recommendations concerning coronavirus and tap water safety. The virus does not provide a threat to treated water supplies. Filtration and disinfection, such as chlorine and advance treatments ensure that viruses are killed during the treatment process. Your tap water meets or exceeds the water quality standards and should not be a concern relating to COVID-19.

Originally built in 1923 as a single-lane bridge connecting Riverside with West Riverside, over the Santa Ana River, is a historic Riverside gem. It was known as the Rubidoux Bridge, the Santa Ana River Bridge and the Mission Bridge, constructed with Mission style towers at each end and featuring the Raincross symbol across its length. The Raincross symbol was created by combining the image of the mass bell used by Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California Missions, and the cross design, which the native tribes of the area prayed to for rain. This symbol has been heavily used in architecture in Riverside since the early 1900’s.

Santa Anna River Bridge, Courtesy: Boston Public Library https://bridgehunter.com/ca/riverside/santa-ana-river/

The choice of a symbol identified with rain as a design feature of this bridge may have been darkly prophetic, as in March of 1938, a vast swath of Southern California was utterly devastated by flooding. Beginning at the end of February and building in intensity into the beginning of March, rainfall inundated Southern California, as two different weather systems passed through the area.

The Santa Ana River swelled and flooded its banks, filling with debris. The debris built up against a bridge north of Riverside until the bridge gave way, sending a surge of water crashing down the length of the Santa Ana River. Bridges all along the length of the Santa Ana River were completely destroyed by the flooding, including the Santa Ana River/ Rubidoux/ Mission Bridge. Riverside was hit particularly hard by this devastation, with many people forced to leave the area. Others were completely cut off and isolated, trapped in their homes, as the flood waters moved so quickly that there was simply not enough time to get a warning out to everyone. Both light and power were cut off for several hours, phone and telegraph poles were knocked down, and parts of Orange County were completely underwater.

Santa Ana River flooding in March of 1938, Courtesy: Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

The Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers also burst their banks, further contributing to mass flooding across the entire LA basin. All in total, over 5,000 homes and business were destroyed, and over 100 lives were lost in the 1938 flood.

In the aftermath, a number of dams were built in order to prevent another such catastrophe from occurring. The Los Angeles River was channelized, built up with concrete to allow faster flow of floodwaters to the sea and prevent the river flooding its banks again. The Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District was formed a few years later in 1945, to ensure public safety against any future flooding scenarios. Rainfall is essential in order to replenish our local groundwater supplies, but infrastructure is critical to ensure that water is diverted to areas where it can be captured as well as to maintain public safety.

Mission Bridge, Riverside, 1924, Courtesy: UCLA, Islandora Repository, Los Angeles Times Collection

The remaining parts of the Mission Bridge were removed in 1958, when a new bridge was constructed across the Santa Ana River. Southern California learned from the tragedy, rebuilt and moved on. The towers of the Rubidoux/Mission Bridge were relocated and now can be seen at the Carlson Dog Park in Riverside.

For more historic photos of the Santa Ana River Bridge: https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/kt0m3nc1wf/

 

The Santa Ana River travels from the top of the San Bernardino Mountains, through Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, cuts into the northern Santa Ana Mountains, and eventually drains into the Pacific Ocean. At over 96 miles long, the Santa Ana River is the largest coastal stream system in Southern California. The drainage area surrounding the river creates the Santa Ana River Watershed.

DJI_0552

Although the entire Santa Ana River Watershed covers 2,650 square miles, the tributary drainage area to the Middle Santa Ana River Watershed is 480 square miles. The Middle Santa Ana River Watershed is a unique area of land that includes open space, commercial, residential and agricultural use.

The state of California has nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards that oversee water quality and compliance for their own region. The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) oversees the Santa Ana River Watershed, including the Middle Santa Ana River Watershed (MSAR). According to Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, the Regional Board is required to identify surface waters that fail to meet water quality standards. Once a body of water has been added to the 303(d) list as impaired, a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) must be established for the waterbody as well as for the given pollutant.

Due to high densities of bacterial indicators, several bodies of water in the Middle Santa Ana River (MSAR) Watershed have been included on the 303(d) list of impaired waterbodies. To address the concerns of fecal coliform bacterial indicators, the RWQCB included the formation of the Middle Santa Ana River TMDL Task Force. Overseen by the Santa Ana Watershed Projects Authority (SAWPA), this task force includes 18 stakeholders working together with the RWQCB to improve the water quality of the MSAR.

DSC07137

Since beginning in 2006, the MSAR Watershed TMDL Task Force continues to address water quality issues by conducting on-going source investigation to identify bacterial indicators and understand how to solve them. In addition to monitoring, TMDL tasks include preparing progress reports, implementing an Urban Source Evaluation Plan, revising a Comprehensive Bacteria Reduction Plan (CBRP) and a Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) for both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The TMDL Task Force has conducted over 20 water quality monitoring projects

DJI_0567

Due to the success of the Task Force, some waterbodies throughout the MSAR have had such high levels of bacteria load reductions that they are no longer considered impaired. The Comprehensive Bacteria Reduction Plan (CBRP) that was introduced in 2012 has shown a 66% reduction in fecal bacteria loads. The MSAR Bacterial Indicator TMDL set limits on waste for urban Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) and confined animal feeding operation dischargers, load allocations for agricultural and natural sources.

The significant improvements being made to the Middle Santa Ana River are a collaborative effort between the RWQB, the Santa Ana Watershed Projects Authority, as well as the several agencies involved. With the TMDL in place, impaired waterbodies are monitored until water quality is fully restored. To find out more about the MSAR TMDL Task Force, visit https://sawpa.org/task-forces/middle-santa-ana-river-watershed-tmdl-task-force/#backgroundb8a6-4b67.

It may be cool outside, but drinking water is just as important during winter months as it is during the summer. Our bodies are made up of 70% water and hydration is critical year-round to maintain healthy bodily function. The air is drier during colder weather and we do not receive as much moisture. Indoor heating is also drying, which leads to cracked lips, dry skin, and other health impairments. Our body uses more fluids to exhale when we breathe in cold weather. We do not tend to feel as thirsty during winter months as we do in summer months, which makes us more susceptible to dehydration.

When choosing winter beverages, it is important to reach for those that are hydrating, nothing can replace water alone, but there are delicious drink options that you can create at home with the water that comes from the faucet or your refrigerator. On cold winter days, these tap water drinks will keep you warm and hydrated. Southern California tap water is highly regulated and safe to consume. Tap water drinks are delicious all year long!

Lemon and Honey Water 5

Honey and Lemon Water
With winter seasonal threats in the air, honey and lemon are the perfect combination to soothe sore throats and ease congestion. Note: Honey should not be given to children under the age of 1.

Ingredients:
-Fresh cold tap water
-1 tablespoon of lemon juice
-2 tablespoons of honey

Directions:
1. Pour tap water into tea kettle and bring to a boil.
2. Put honey and lemon juice in a teacup or mug.
3. Add hot water to cup and stir gently.
4. Add lemon juice or honey to taste.
5. Enjoy!

Hot Cocoa 2

Classic Hot Cocoa
With a simple list of ingredients, hot cocoa is the perfect beverage the whole family can enjoy on a cool winter day.

Ingredients:
-1/3 cup of sugar
-¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/3 cup of hot tap water
-Dash of salt
-4 cups of milk
-3/4 tsp vanilla extract
-Choice of garnish (optional): mini marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, peppermint sticks

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and tap water. Bring to a rolling boil.
2. Stir and cook for two minutes.
3. Reduce heat and stir in the milk to desired temperature. Do not boil.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Stir in vanilla.
6. Add desired garnish. (optional)
7. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Tea with KettleHot Tea
With an endless possibility of flavors and styles, it is no surprise that tea is enjoyed around the world. Whether as a morning warm-up or a relaxing cup before bed, there is something for everyone.

Ingredients:
-Caffeine-free tea bag
-Fresh cold tap water
-Choice of sweetener (optional): honey, sugar, stevia

Directions:
1. Choose a desired flavor of tea bag.
2. Fill tea pot with cold, fresh tap water. Bring to a boil.
3. After it reaches boiling, turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes.
4. Put tea bag in mug or cup and fill.
5. Steep tea bag in water for amount of time shown on package. Each tea variety requires different steep times.
6. Remove tea bag.
7. Add honey or sugar to taste. (optional)
8. Enjoy!

French PressFrench Press Coffee
The French Press was invented in 1929 and has been used to make a full-bodied cup of coffee ever since.

-Fresh, cold tap water
-Medium ground decaffeinated coffee

Directions:
1. Pour tap water into tea kettle and bring to a boil. Once boiled turn off heat and let sit for 1 minute.
2. Remove plunger from press.
3. Add a tablespoon of coffee to the pot per 6.7 ounces of water.
4. Fill press halfway with hot water, making sure that all grounds are saturated.
5. Stir gently and wait 1 minute.
6. Carefully insert the plunger and let it stand for 3 minutes without plunging.
7. Press plunger down slowly using steady pressure.
8. Serve coffee immediately. Pour coffee not immediately used into a carafe.

Image of FOG fats, oils, grease clogged in large pipe

When you hear fats, oils and grease (FOG), your sewer probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In reality, these substances do to your pipes what they do to arteries. Over time, pouring fats, oils and grease down the drain coats your home pipes, the sewer lines and it builds up. As FOG hardens, it prevents the sewage stream from passing through and eventually raw sewage can back up into your home. Not only is this a hazard, but it is also costly. Sewer pipes within the home are the responsibility of homeowners. Sewage backups can also cause overflows into city streets. These blockages can surface in homes, lawns and storm drains, eventually impacting our watersheds, which can contaminate local waters, including drinking water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are 23,000-75,000 sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) each year, with grease build-up being one of the reasons. Avoid this costly and dangerous problem by making proper FOG disposal a habit. Never pour these substances down your drain. This includes using hot water to clean a greasy pan.

Steps to safely dispose of FOG:

  1. Allow it to cool.
  2. Pour FOG into an aluminum or glass container when you are ready to dispose. Use a paper towel to wipe any excess out of the pan or cooking receptacle.
  3. Mix with an absorbent material such as coffee grounds, cat litter or shredded newspaper.
  4. Seal the container.
  5. Dispose of it in the trash.

If a small amount of FOG gets into the drain, flush it immediately with cold water. Even a small amount builds up over time. Pouring hot water and detergent down the drain only breaks up FOG temporarily. Any build up is then moved further down the sewer lines and can cause problems in other areas.

Fats, oils and grease are in a variety of foods that you may otherwise not think of. Examples include cooking oils, butter, milk, meats and sauces. Even small amounts of leftover food particles put down the garbage disposal can catch on to sticky film left by FOG and cause the debris to build up.

FOG is a year round problem, but holiday cooking is a good reminder to be mindful of what goes down the drain.

The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (Valley District) provides roughly 25% of the region’s water needs from Yucaipa to Fontana. Businesses and residential customers alike depend on them for water. With a limited water supply, unknown annual precipitation amounts and a growing population, water districts in Southern California need to plan to ensure water reliability and security. To meet the future demand, improvements to infrastructure, new pipelines and groundwater recharge systems are being built to gain water independence.

The Enhanced Stormwater Capture and Recharge Project (Recharge Project) on the Santa Ana River is the first stage of improvements made by Valley District and Western Municipal Water District to capture beneficial stormwater that are located downstream of  the Seven Oaks Dam. Rather than losing water to evaporation and runoff, with only a portion of it benefiting local groundwater basins, the Recharge Project uses Santa Ana River water to replenish basins that seep into groundwater basins that are later pumped and conveyed to local agencies.

Tap Water

The  Recharge project aims to divert up to 500 cubic feet of water per second and recharge up to 80,000 acre-feet of water per year. This amount reflects  3740 gallons of water diverted per second, and over 26 billion gallons recharged in a single year. These valuable gallons of recharged water will replenish groundwater supplies by ensuring it goes back into aquifers. In addition to costing less to store, recharge water also has smaller amounts of evaporation being that it is underground.

The groundwater that is being stored underground is called an aquifer. Aquifers are made up of layers of sand, rock, soil, or gravel where water is saturated and stored. It permeates through the spaces and gaps between the sediment. This water can be accessed when needed through drilling wells and pumping. Water that is stored underground is vital to the region’s overall water portfolio and after being pumped reflects about 72% of the available water supplies to meet growing demands.

tap water

The  Recharge Project plays an important role in keeping groundwater supplies recharged. As water is pulled from the aquifers to be used, more needs to be added in order to keep a balance. If too much water is used without being recharged, the aquifer will become dry. The water in aquifers is vital to our survival by providing drinking water, irrigation supplies, freshwater needs, and to serve as an emergency supply. The  Recharge Project supports water districts in the San Bernardino Basin and Southern California to help reduce reliance on more expensive imported water sources. By utilizing stormwater that is captured locally, districts are able to provide commercial and residential customers with their water supply

In addition to capturing the Santa Ana River stormwater at Seven Oaks Dam, the Recharge Project includes a debris removal system component, a sedimentation basin, canal, pipeline, and recharge basin. Each of these improvements increases the availability of local water supplies and creates less dependence on outside water sources.

With the population of the area growing and unknown annual precipitation, water districts across Southern California continue to research, develop and implement innovative ways to provide customers with reliable tap water as made available through  the  Recharge Project.

Did you know that your water agency tests and treats water thousands of time per year to ensure it meets some of the highest water-quality standards in the world before it reaches your tap?

In fact, the quality of your water is governed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires all public water systems to notify customers annually regarding the quality of the water they receive. In addition, California has stringent standards for water that each water agency must adhere to.

From time to time, we may hear about contaminants in water that are affecting local, national and worldwide water quality, including recent news stories on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals – also known as PFAS. But what are these chemicals and how did they get into our water?

What are PFAS?

PFAS are prevalent in thousands of products we use every day, including non-stick cookware, firefighting foams, dental floss and stain resistant household coatings on carpets and upholstery. It’s also found in our water; however, water agencies don’t put these chemicals into our water, but over time they have entered our waterways through manufacturing, landfills and wastewater discharge.

Known as “forever chemicals,” PFAS are very hard to breakdown and treat (clean) in our water supply. While some PFAS have been linked to adverse health effects and scientific study is still ongoing, there are some preliminary state and federal regulations for these contaminants.

pan-544679_1920

How Do We Monitor PFAS?

In California, the State Division of Drinking Water (DDW) has a “notification level” and a “response level” for water agencies. The notification and response levels are known as Public Health Goals set by the state and established based on extensive testing – even studying the impacts on people who have been exposed to certain contaminants. While these goals are instrumental in guiding drinking water laws and protecting human health, it is important to note that the EPA has yet to set a national regulatory limit for PFAS.

The Notification Level (NL) requires a water agency to notify government officials when PFAS in the water exceeds the set NL. In California, the NL for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is 5.1 part per trillion (ppt); the NL for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is 6.5 ppt. The Response Level (RL) requires agencies to take action for readings above 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 40 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS.

The guidelines are part of DDW’s statewide effort to assess the scope of water supply contamination by PFOS and PFOA.

The response level guidelines will be compared to a quarterly running annual average of sample results.

The CA DDW recommends that the water agency remove the well from service or provide treatment if it exceeds that amount. In the coming months, California may even tighten restrictions on RLs for PFOA and PFOS. For context, a ppt is a microscopic amount and is akin to one drop of water in the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

PFAS notification and response levels in CA are some of the most rigorous in the US; each state is in charge of setting its own levels.

National regulatory limits are set by the EPA and known as “maximum contaminant levels” (MCL) for drinking water. When contaminants in water exceed the MCL, this information must be reported to customers and the state. It is also noted in each agency’s annual Water Quality Report.

ro-train

How Do We Treat For PFAS?

Thanks to improvements in technology, water agencies can detect and treat for substances, such as PFAS, at a faster rate. The ways that PFAS in our water supply can be removed or treated include  granulated activated carbon, reverse osmosis or ion exchange; removing affected water sources from service; or blending affected water with unaffected water supplies.

What’s Next?

DDW has indicated it will issue a new compliance sampling order in the near future. In addition, many water agencies are studying long-term treatment options for this contaminant.

For more information on PFAS, visit:

EPA: epa.gov/pfas

DDW: waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/PFOA_PFOS

When you pour some cool tap water into a glass on a warm fall afternoon, enjoy a shower after a long day of work or throw a load of clothes in your washing machine, chances are that you are not thinking about the quality of your water. And that’s the goal. Teams of highly skilled water quality experts at your local water agency regularly test your water thousands of times per year to ensure that it is meeting some of the highest water quality standards in the world before it comes to your home.

Whether you live in New York or right here in California, the quality of your water is governed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires all public water systems to notify customers annually regarding the quality of the water they receive. In addition, each state has stringent standards for water that each water agency must adhere to.

DSC01424-2

Here are four more reasons why tap water quality can be trusted

Reason #1: Tap water beats out bottled water when it comes to safety

In fact, tap water that comes to our home undergoes many more tests than bottled water. That is because of the national Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires water agencies to conduct extensive water quality testing by certified laboratories. Our drinking water is not only regulated by the national Safe Drinking Water Act but also is regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Drinking Water (DDW). Conversely, bottled water does not need to meet these same rigorous standards, is often tested less frequently than tap water and the leaching of the plastic bottle the water comes in is not tested.

Reason #2: Water quality is transparently communicated

Each year before the water reaches your tap, it is tested and treated thousands of times to ensure that it meets or surpasses rigorous state and nationwide water-quality standards. These results are legally required to be shared annually with customers by mail or online. The reports for the prior year are available after July 1 and provide customers with detailed information on the quality of their drinking water, including how much lead and copper is in the water, special health concerns, public health goals and maximum contaminant levels.

OCWD_DAY_01-2261

Reason #3: Investments in water technology and treatment

Water agencies are constantly adopting the latest technology and treatment options to monitor the quality of your water. For instance, when it comes to groundwater Orange County Water District (OCWD) has become the first public agency laboratory to achieve state certification to analyze per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

As technology for testing continues to improve, it allows water agencies to detect and treat for substances, such as PFAS, at a faster rate. “We continue to proactively monitor and protect our groundwater supply and look for ways to assist our regional producers with opportunities to provide some of the cleanest drinking water in the world,” said OCWD’s Executive Director of Water Quality & Technical Resources Jason Dadakis.

Reason #4: Water has Set Maximum Contaminant Levels and Public Health Goals

The EPA sets maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for drinking water to keep water safe. When contaminants in water exceed the MCL, this information must be reported to customers and the state. It is also noted in the annual Water Quality Report.

Public Health Goals, on the other hand, are set by the state and established based on extensive testing – even studying the impacts on people who have been exposed to certain contaminants. While these goals are instrumental in guiding drinking water laws and protecting human health, it is important to note they are not legal limits. A whole team of experts works together to determine Public Health Goals, including toxicologists, epidemiologists, physicians, biostatisticians and research scientists.

There are numerous tests our water goes through to ensure it meets in-depth water quality testing before making its way to our homes. For questions about your water agency’s water quality report, visit their website or contact them to receive a copy.