BPA has made headlines repeatedly over the years and prompted a public outcry for more information over the topic. Many people have called for its ban and expressed concerns over the presence of BPA in everyday household items. The overwhelming presence of BPA in food and drink containers may be negatively impacting a wide range of bodily functions independent of age, race, or gender. The long term consequences of involuntary and long-term ingestion of the chemical raises the question of how to avoid it.
What is exactly is BPA? The Mayo Clinic defines BPA, short for bisphenol A., as an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960’s. The Clinic further explains that “BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles.” Essentially, BPA is a chemical that has been used in plastic productions for nearly 70 years and is universal among plastic-based container goods. BPA becomes problematic when used in everyday items such as water bottles and Tupperware due to the susceptibility of the chemical leaching into the contained product, i.e. food or beverages. This in turn leads to the chemical unknowingly being ingested and causing short and long term ailments. The Mayo Clinic reinforces that notion and states, “Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure.”
Your So Cal Tap Water previously had the opportunity to interview Brenda Meyer, an engineer and water scientist from Western Municipal Water District, about the regulations that tap water is mandated to follow. We learned that besides BPA contamination concerns, bottled water also faces looser regulations in the filtering process compared to tap water. This is not to say that bottled water is unsafe to consume, but does reinforce the notion that tap water faces strict regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is monitored to maintain its quality. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is subject to weekly test for bacteriological contamination in California; while regular bottled water testing is suggested, it is not always enforced and often goes loosely regulated. Municipal water districts are subject to more rigorous quality tests on a frequent basis and take pride upholding the integrity of the resource.
Time Magazine online shares a recent study, conducted by Orb Media, on the contamination of 9 of the 11 bottled water tested for Microplastic contamination testing positive. The findings were nearly universal discovering Microplastics in 90% of the samples tested. Compared to bottled water from around the globe, those tested from U.S. sources ranked higher for contamination. Furthermore, the environmental impacts of the bottled water are also a concern if not addressed.
We know that tap water is BPA free, regulated, and wallet-friendly to consume, but still the United States is experiencing an increase in sales of bottled water. According to data released by Beverage Marketing Inc., “Theamount of bottled water sold rose 7.9 percent in 2015. That’s on top of a 7 percent increase in 2014. Looking over a long term time span, from 2000 to 2015, bottled water consumption more than doubled, from 16.7 gallons a person to 36.4 gallons.”
Americans are consistently purchasing and consuming more bottled water than ever before and potentially exposing themselves to hazardous chemicals in the process. Besides the convenience of purchasing bottled water, packaging is valued for its aesthetic components and media ‘worthiness.’ National Geographic speaks to the anti-bottled-water campaigns “which have been concentrated on the nation’s college campuses and focus on the environmentalimpact of bottled water as a packaged product, compared to simply refilling a reusable water bottle,” but concludes that the movement needs more engagement from the public.
Staying BPA free is possible and there are many simple steps you can take to avoid it. Using a reusable bottle and filling it with tap water helps avoid environmental and health consequences that plastics containing BPA can produce. Choosing the right refillable bottle identified with ‘BPA free’ stickers or signage are also instrumental to avoiding the chemical in your household items. Whatever the case, be reassured that filling it with tap water is safe and monitored as well as economically friendly for any home!
To read our interview with Brenda click here.
There is no question about it, according to the CDC, this year has been one of the worst recent years for the flu on record. If you have ever had the flu, you know that it can affect your entire system and halt your plans for several days, if not longer. One moment you are feeling well and the next the flu symptoms wreak havoc on your health. Fevers, aches and body chills, among many other unpleasant symptoms, stop your ability to function in your day-to-day routine. The symptoms of the flu hit children and elderly people the hardest. There are many precautions you can take to deter the flu, such as getting a flu shot at your local pharmacy, staying away from people who have the flu and washing your hands often. There are also holistic home remedies that claim to help avoid the illness as well. However, there is no way to guarantee that you won’t contract the flu. Germs spread quickly and varying strains of the flu can be stronger than others.
In addition to taking necessary precautions, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key part of preventing the flu. A large part of healthy living is nourishing your body and drinking adequate amounts of water to enhance your immune system. Since more than half our bodies are composed of water, drinking the recommended amount may help you, and loved ones, end the flu season unscathed.
Most people know you are supposed to drink plenty of fluids when they are sick with the flu, but did you know that drinking water, including tap water, and staying hydrated year-long can actually help prevent it altogether? Water is essential for our bodies to operate and giving it the right amount strengthens its functions. Dr. David Lewis explains that “the first line of defense is the mucous membrane in the nose,” and, “[it] acts like a sticky flypaper to trap things like dust, dirt and bacteria and prevent them getting to the lungs. If you are dehydrated, the mucous membrane will dry out. When this happens, it is half as effective.” To keep your first line of defense in optimal, flu-fighting shape, it is imperative to drink enough water to fuel it so that it can block undesirable bacteria and viruses through this canal.
Everyday Health affirms that drinking the recommended amount of water is beneficial to your health and one recent study “found staying hydrated may boost a particular immune response to enable your body to better fight the viruses.” This allows your body to avoid contracting the flu and fight off any unwanted symptoms but needs to be fortified with proper hydration and health. Boosting your immune system allows your body to ward off the flu before it becomes potentially problematic, as it often does with people that have weak immune systems.
Because water is made of oxygen, drinking more water increases the oxygen in our bodies. Drinking more water improves our body’s cellular respiration and the removal of toxins in our bodies. Essentially, water helps humans stay healthy, which can boost immunity and help avoid the flu. If you do happen to contract the flu, drinking plenty of water can help fight it and rid your body of the virus. Water is truly an amazing resource and does much more besides boosting our immune systems and helping prevent the flu. Whether it’s flu season or not, drink plenty of readily available tap water from your home faucet and keep hydrated. To learn about more benefits and tips to stay hydrated, read our post ‘New Year, New You: Benefits of Drinking Water
First built in 1949 to provide water to St. Bernadine Medical Center, the Perris Hill Reservoir serves as drinking water storage for the people in the City of San Bernardino. This hidden reservoir is not visible to the naked eye; it was intentionally constructed inside an existing hill, east of Perris Hill Park. A popular hiking spot for locals, the Perris Hill Reservoir is hidden deep in the earth. From the top of the hill, only the beautiful surrounding mountains of San Bernardino are seen. It is beneath this hilltop location where 10 million gallons of water are stored every day to provide a resource essential to all life; water. In 1962, the Perris Hill Reservoir was reconstructed to expand the capacity in order to meet the demands of the growing region.
“In the 1940’s the need for additional water storage was identified. There wasn’t enough water for the hospital and the surrounding area,” stated Michael Garland, Water Utility Operations Superintendent at San Bernardino Municipal Water Department. “Because of its depth, Perris Hill Reservoir is technically classified as a dam by the State of California. There are many benefits to building a dam in a hill. Not only does it provide needed pressure to deliver water, but it also keeps the temperature cooler, versus an outdoor tank.”
The Perris Hill Reservoir, owned and operated by San Bernardino Municipal Water Department (SBMWD), is just one of 38 reservoirs operated by the Department. In 2016, SBMWD served 202,000 people, equating to 10.5 billion gallons of water. The Perris Hill Reservoir provides water to 3,284 households.
Every eight years, the reservoir is drained for routine maintenance. The structure is disinfected, inspected and repairs are made. In January 2018, the Perris Hill Reservoir was drained and inspected. When the tank is empty, a large 20-inch pipe is visible on the floor of this damp, cool compound. This pipe is used to keep water moving inside the reservoir in order to minimize stagnation. Water enters the reservoir through the pipe; this is called the influent line. It leaves the pipe via another pipe called the effluent line. The constant movement helps ensure safe clean reliable water delivery to the consumers’ homes.
“Crews prepared for the draining of Perris Hill Reservoir by first determining the water demand of the reservoir. The water is not wasted, we simply shut off production from the well, so that no new water is entering the tank,” explained Garland. “We deplete the water from reservoir by the usage from our customers. Once the water is drained (used) we switch service so that the customers who would normally receive water from Perris Hill Reservoir receive water from another location. The entire process of draining takes approximately 10 days to complete.”
Perris Hill Reservoir does not have any on-site staff members who work at the location, however the monitoring of water levels and quality is logged multiple times a day. Daily water quality samples are collected and analyses are performed to ensure the safety of the drinking water.
“Our staff comes out to the site multiple times a day to report water levels and quality. Water levels can also be tracked remotely using a transducer, which uses sonar technology to report water levels,” shared Garland. “All of our facilities, including the Perris Hill Reservoir, record data relating to water supply using a computerized system for tracking real time data called Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).”
Water stored in the Perris Hill Reservoir comes from local water supplies, including groundwater basins and snowmelt from the San Bernardino Mountains. The San Bernardino area is a part of the Santa Ana River Watershed, an intricate system of natural water sources starting as snowmelt in the San Bernardino Mountains, traveling down through Riverside, then after multiple uses to Orange County for recharge into the groundwater via the Santa Ana River.
Make a New Year’s resolution to drink more water. We are quickly approaching the time of year where we look for a fresh start and make changes to improve our lifestyles. We create new resolutions and aspirations for the upcoming year. The thought of ringing in 2018 with a healthy start is one that excites many people and as the saying goes, “A new year, a new YOU!” Did you know that drinking sufficient amount of water and staying hydrated can bring positive impacts to your body? Entering the year with the resolution to drink more water is a great step towards a better well-being of the mind and body. Not only is water a vital resource for our daily routines and lifestyles, it is also an irreplaceable nutrient for the body that allows for proper health. According to The USGS Water Science School, as much as 70% of our bodies are composed of water that “serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going.” Over half of our bodies are made up of water, which can be an indicator of why being dehydrated has such detrimental impacts in a person’s mind and bodily health.
Healthline, an online site health information site, explains that “even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can impair many of the brain aspects,” and provides evidence-based reasons that water is beneficial to our overall well-being. Water is an amazing resource and some key benefits from drinking more include:
- ‘Water helps maximize physical performance.’ Physical activity is one of the major key players in leading a healthy lifestyle. Thus, staying hydrated is an important component for those who are committing themselves to a more active lifestyle in 2018 or who are already meeting higher levels of physical activity. The mental and physical energy needed to complete a full workout derives from both a balanced nutrition and adequate hydration. Additionally, replenishing lost water from physical activity is important to keep your body going.
- ‘Hydration has major effects on energy levels and brain function.’ This essentially means that your state of hydration can impact your feelings of anxiety, fatigue, and mood. Nourishing your body with this resource can help boost energy in a positive direction while discouraging unpleasant feelings.
- ‘Drinking water may help treat and prevent headaches.’ Of course this is dependent on the type of headache and other environmental factors but hydration still plays a key role. Since our brains are composed mostly of water, it makes sense that dehydration could have a negative impact on this aspect. Drinking water can deter this ailment and help you continue your day without the uneasiness of a headache!
- ‘Drinking more water can aid in weight loss.’ This means that those who are drinking more water may see a drop in the scale as well! Weight loss is a common resolution for many people entering the New Year and drinking more water is a simple step they can take in order to help achieve that goal. If this is your resolution, you can lose weight and feel other positive impacts from staying hydrated!
As you can see, staying hydrated has multifaceted benefits that can aid in various parts of life. However, with busy schedules remembering to drink water frequently can be a challenge. Help stick to your resolution by setting ‘drink water’ reminders on either your phone or computer to prompt you to hydrate regularly. Have another family member, friend, or coworker join in the resolution for motivation and accountability. If you would like to take a more hands-on approach you could meet your goals by pre-filling up water bottles from home with tap water. Determine how much water you must drink by a certain hour of the day. Drinking the recommended ounces for your body type may seem less overwhelming and more achievable when compartmentalized. These are just a couple methods to help you meet your goals but whatever works best for you and your lifestyle is the best option. Happy New Year and have a healthy and prosperous 2018 from YourSoCalTapWater.org.
Public Health Goals (PHG) are often mistaken as law, however they are goals set by the state as to what level a contaminant no longer poses a significant health risk. They are not regulated, but are established as a recommendation by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Conversely, Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) are standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep public water systems safe. The MCL is the legal limit on how much of a constituent/ contaminant can be found in drinking water. MCLs are enforceable and regulated.
The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) reviews public health goals, however the determination of safe contaminant levels is dependent on the available technology and the feasibility of removing a contaminant before determining drinking water standards. Public Health Goals are established based on extensive testing, even by studying the impacts on the people who have been exposed to certain contaminants. Scientific evidence of all health hazards relating to constituents / contaminants in water is collected and studied to create recommended Public Health Goals that will not harm humans.
According to the OEHHA, “Professional staff includes toxicologists, epidemiologists, physicians, biostatisticians, and research scientists who are responsible for assessing health risks posed to the public by hazardous chemicals. The Office provides its scientific expertise in this area to other state regulatory agencies. Through its risk assessments and its development of PHG, OEHHA assists SWRCB in developing regulatory standards for chemicals in the state’s drinking water.”
Contaminants, also called constituents, are often naturally occurring. While optimally, the absence of contaminants would be preferred, the economics and available technology can limit the ability to achieve such goals. Health officials from the EPA, SWRCB and OEHHA evaluate lab results and current law to establish public health goals. It is the responsibility of public water systems in the state to monitor and report water quality to meet both federal and state regulations.
Public Health Goals are instrumental in guiding drinking water law and protecting human health, but it is important to note that they are not legal limits. Some MCLs are higher than PHGs, but this does not pose a health risk. The PHGs are established as a goal whenever feasible, however the MCLs are considered safe levels of contaminants. Public water agencies are required to inform their customers of contaminants levels each year. All public information on water quality is contained in an annual water quality report, also known as a consumer confidence report. These reports contain legal MCLs and the results of testing.
If a constituent is detected that exceeds the MCL, the public water agency must notify the customer of the detection and possible health risks. All notices sent to customers must be approved by the SWRCB. Public water agencies continue to play an integral part in the monitoring and protection of our drinking water supply. For questions about your specific water quality report, contact your local water agency or visit their website to download a copy.
Have you wondered what the hype about alkaline drinking water is all about? Bottled water beverage companies market their products with the promises of added health benefits from alkaline. Remember, these companies are beverage providers, they are not in the business of protecting water quality. Claims that alkaline may have medical benefits to improve everything from acid reflux to diabetes and even high cholesterol can be found posted throughout the internet. Walking through the grocery store you will find shelves stacked with competing products of bottled water, but which is the most healthy? If claims regarding alkaline water are true, did you know that the tap water that comes from your faucet at home may in fact be alkaline? Due to standards regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most tap water is alkaline.
The pH levels in water measure hydrogen ions, which determine the acidity or alkalinity of water. The scale ranges from 0-14, seven is neutral with anything less than seven being acidic. If the pH is greater than seven the water is quantified as being alkaline. The EPA requires that tap water have a minimum pH level of 6.5, slightly below neutral. Many water agencies are above neutral making tap water a natural source of alkaline drinking water.Water that is alkaline contains minerals that some believe to be beneficial to your health due to the potential to neutralize acid in the bloodstream. However, according to the Mayo Clinic validity of these claims is still uncertain. Water in its most purest form is alkaline. If water is acidic then there is the potential for the body to absorb toxins. Home filters and water ionizers can be purchased to increase alkaline levels. It is recommended to first check your Consumer Confidence Report to check the pH levels at your home; you may be surprised by what you will read.
External factors in our diet and environment can be considered causes for a condition know as acidosis, which is an overproduction of acid in the bloodstream. Consuming fruits and vegetables can balance pH levels by making the body more alkaline. Some doctors and nutritionists believe that similarly, alkaline water may produce similar health results by neutralizing acid in the blood stream. Many medical studies can be found online on the effects of drinking alkaline water. It is important to note that many of these have been conducted with small sample sizes or only for short periods of time making results challenging to determine overall health benefits.
While representative studies may be inconclusive on the health benefits of higher pH levels in drinking water, check with your doctor and seek medical advice as you whether a high pH level will improve your overall health.
Bottled water is not as regulated as tap and in many circumstances beverage companies are bottling tap water; the same water you receive at your home, yet less monitored during the bottling process.
In California, bottled water is required to be tested and meet the same limits as tap water, however testing is much less frequent and is performed only on samples at the bottling plant. This would not detect any leaching of plastic components from bottles or bacteria that might grow during storage. Bottle water is required to report test results only if requested, while public water systems must provide water quality results each year to their customers. Next time to reach for the plastic bottle water, think twice, you may want to reach for a glass of tap water instead.
For information on pH levels of your tap water, visit the website of your water agency and check for pH levels. Each year, the EPA requires that all public water agencies provide customers with a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), also known as a water quality report. Understanding how to decode your water quality report can be found on the SoCalTapWater blog.
California’s most recent drought made the state face some challenging questions regarding the obstacles to ensure water quality and deliverance during these extended periods. On January 17, 2014 Governor Jerry Brown declared a “drought state of emergency” that would last until April 17, 2017, totaling six years of critically low water supplies.
As defined by the California Water Science Center, a drought is characterized by an abnormally low amount of snowpack and rainfall in a water system that can cause complications due to water supply shortages depending on its severity. They further explain that the declines in surface water “can be detrimental to water supplies for agriculture and cities, hydropower production, navigation, recreation, and habitat for aquatic and riparian species.” Essentially, the severity of the drought can have implications that hinder daily operations in our communities, as well as impact the environmental vitality in the affected regions. The drought put pressure on the amount of water supplied versus the amount needed in order for home, agricultural, and industrial processes to normally continue. The rate of water consumption and lack of replenishment in our surface and groundwater sources led water districts to implement programs and restrictions to comply with mandates that required decreases in the demand for water.
The focus on conservation efforts was seen on a policy level with changes in water rate structures, watering schedules, and incentive programs for water efficient landscaping. According to Save Our Water, as much as 60% of household water consumption is used outdoors, mainly for irrigation purposes. A push was made to reduce outdoor water use through smart irrigation systems and habitat friendly landscaping. The aim was to reduce “unnecessary” water use or to provide alternatives that would reach the same objective. After six years of drought period and strong conservation efforts, the snowpack and rainfall began normalizing, which consequently filled surface water resources and ended the “state of emergency.”
Although, the critical conditions of the drought have been declared over, conservation efforts are necessary to continue due to the depletion of groundwater basins. The Groundwater Foundation defines groundwater as, “Water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rock…that moves through aquifers.” Americans nationwide rely on these water sources more than they may think with a total of 51% of the U.S population consumption coming from groundwater basins. Moreover, rural irrigation in the U.S. depends on 64% of groundwater supply for its production process. The drought had a detrimental impact on the groundwater supply that has not been fully replenished since the emergency drought declaration was withdrawn. Because excess snowpack and rain did not cover the entire State, supplies are still far from being at necessary levels. The importance of its replenishment lies in rivers and lakes serving as a recharging system for groundwater basins. Without substantial rainfall statewide, the groundwater basins have not been replenished. The Groundwater Foundation also goes on to describe the threats that overusing and depleting the resource can have. For example, depleting the basins can cause the necessity to continually dig deeper to reach well water as well as lowering the levels of surface water available. These possible consequences will have the most impact on consumers wallets due to maintenance costs, supply outweighing demand, and water quality concerns.
The good news is that water districts and communities alike can continue efforts to reduce the depletion of our valuable resources. Many of the conservation efforts made during the height of the drought can be extended into non-drought periods that will help decrease consumption. Following a sustainable approach can only create more opportunity for our resources to recharge and making conservations a long term habit.
Cities rely on water resources to provide services to their residents that can go unnoticed. When we think about water in our daily lives we often think about drinking water, taking a shower, brushing our teeth or watering the lawn. Water is necessary for survival, hygiene and to maintain our yards, but cities also utilize water supplies for everyday use that benefit their community in many ways we never think about.
Fire hydrants include important infrastructure necessary to provide residents with the fire flows as required by regulations to fight fire. The City of Riverside, which has its own fire department, receives the water used for firefighting from the same sources as drinking water. The water used for firefighting is not recycled water, it is in fact potable drinking water.
While some fire trucks do hold water, many variables affect if and when water from a hydrant is needed to fight fire. Hydrants pull water from the same water supply that residents receive in their homes. Hydrants are able to provide pressurized water through the use of fire engines to fight fire. Hydrants provide a life-saving tool when needed and without water they would not be effective.
Cities also utilize water for street cleaning services. Keeping roads clean and maintained preserves the appearance of communities. Street cleaning is a service that may go unobserved by residents, however it is not only necessary for the visible appearance, but also because it eliminates trash and debris that can often end up in the storm drains. Water used in street cleaning services can come from recycled or potable drinking water.
The City of Riverside currently uses potable water for street sweeping, but as they expand the production of recycled water there may be an opportunity in the future to utilize recycled water for this service. According to San Diego County Water Authority, “Street sweeping is a great non-potable use of recycled water because it reduces the demand for high-quality drinking water, which is more beneficially used for human consumption rather than for cleaning our roads.” The City of Corona also utilized recycled water for street cleaning.
Cities are responsible for the care and maintenance of their parks, landscaped areas and center medians in the road, all of which can often include plants requiring watering. Cities care for these landscaped areas needing water. In the City of Riverside all recreational facilities include potable water, such as splash pads and fountains. While currently irrigation is administered with potable water, there are plans to transition to recycled water. “As the City’s recycled water system expands over the next 12 months with the Jackson Street – Phase 1 project, some parks within the City will convert to utilizing recycled water to irrigate. With future expansion, the intent is to provide recycled water to nearby parks for irrigation,” shared Robbie Silver, Public Information Coordinator for Riverside Public Utilities.
In the City of Corona, wherever parks and school mainlines for recycled water are present they have converted water from potable to recycled. In 2015 the City converted six parks to recycled water for irrigation. “Recently, the City was awarded an Urban Rivers Grant to convert 18 landscape maintenance district irrigation meters from potable to recycled water services,” said Melinda Weinrich,Water Resources Supervisor at City of Corona. “We are also coordinating with our parks and schools to adjust watering of parks and schools on recycled water to ensure demand does not strain the system.” Corona has also converted several businesses, shopping centers, churches and HOAs to recycled water service for irrigation over the past few years.
Every day cities across the country utilize water to operate and provide services to the people to live, work and visit their region. Their use of water not only keeps up the appearance of cities, but also enhances the lives of those who in their communities.
Your Water Quality Report, also called Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), contains important information about the quality of the drinking water that is delivered to your home 365 days a year. As required by law, the United States Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act states that all public water systems notify their customers each year on July 1 with information indicating contaminant levels in drinking water. Following yearlong water quality testing, data is compiled and must be available to all customers by mail and/or online. If you have trouble finding your report, the EPA provides a link to easily identify your water provider and search for your CCR.
Once you have your report you may have trouble understanding what exactly the data means. We have identified simple tips when reading your report and what to look for.
- Lead and Copper Rule
Corrosion of water pipes can often lead to lead and copper in drinking water. Lead can be toxic, especially to individuals with compromised immune systems and children. The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) was created to ensure safe drinking water is sent to homes. The Rule states that no more than 15 ppb (parts per billion) for lead and 1.3 ppm (parts per million) for copper can be present in more than 10 percent of homes tested.
TIP: Check the lead ppm and copper ppm. Is the copper 1.3 ppm or less? If yes, your water is within safe limits. What about lead, is it 15 ppb or less? If yes, the lead detected is within allowable limits. Some reports may state, “none detected” this means no contaminant was detected in the testing samples.
- Compare MCL to area where you live
Your report will contain tables listing contaminants and what the levels detected were for specific areas. First, find the contaminant that you wish to evaluate. Look at what the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is. The MCL is the highest level that a contaminant can safely be present in drinking water. Next, see what the level is for the area in which you live. You can choose to view either the average or the complete range for the contaminants present in your service area.
TIP: Compare the MCLs for each contaminant to the levels for the area in, which you live. How do they compare?
- What does the PHG column mean?
The PHG column represents the “Public Health Goals.” Public Health Goals are set by the California Environmental Protection agency. They are not mandated, however they represent the level at which a contaminant has no known or expected health risks.
Tip: Compare the PHGs for each contaminant to the levels for the area in which you live. How do they compare? Public Health Goals can differ from MCLs and not all PHGs have a maximum level stated.
- Special Health Concerns
For water consumers with special health concerns, such as those with dialysis machines, chloramines in the water (used for cleaning) can be toxic. Contact a doctor for appropriate water. Fish tanks and aquariums can also be affected by chloramines in the water. Pretreating water with chemicals or certain filters are available to remove chloramines.
Nitrates levels above 10 milligrams (mg/L) per liter can also be a concern for infants less than six months old. It can be problematic with the infant’s blood ability to carry oxygen. Pregnant women and people with certain enzyme deficiencies can be harmed by nitrate levels exceeding 10 mg/L as well.
Tip: Do you have a special health concern or compromised immune system? Speak to a medical professional about the water delivered to your home to ensure that your health is not at risk based on the data from your Water Quality Report.
- Water Hardness
Water hardness can be a nuisance. It can corrode pipes and buildup on faucets in your home. The United State Geological Survey (USGS) states that, 89.3% of homes in the United States are considered to have hard water. While water hardness does not necessarily pose a health concern, it can be reported in your CCR. At what level is water considered, “hard?” Less than 17.1 milligrams per liter is considered “soft.” Between 17.1–60 mg/L is slightly hard. Water from 60-120 mg/L is moderately hard and over 180 mg/L is severely hard.
Tip: Compare your hardness level to the numbers above. How hard is your water? If you have hard water, treatments are available to soften water. Be sure to research water softeners for environmental impacts. While these water systems may provide more visually appealing dishes and appliances, they do not provide changes to the health of your water. Furthermore, many systems exchange sodium for magnesium and calcium.
When reading your Consumer Confidence Report read the stories included in the document. The report may contain water-saving tips, an explanation of the costs associated with making your water safe to consume, information on where your water comes from and infrastructure projects in place that ensure that every single time you turn on the tap safe water comes out.
America has some of the safest drinking water in the world. The United States Environmental Protection Agency protects drinking water by federal law, knows as the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The SDWA ensures measures are in place to safeguard drinking water and that they meet or exceed the water quality standards required for public safety. All public water systems mandated to follow the Safe Drinking Water Act can be privately or publicly owned. Currently, there are over 170,000 public water systems in the United States.
First passed in 1974, Congress instituted the SDWA to protect public health from municipal drinking water supplies. Laws pertaining to the SDWA protect the public from both man-made contaminants, in addition to naturally occurring constituents. When first enacted, the SDWA emphasized only the treatment (cleaning) of the water as means to protect public health. However, in 1996 the SDWA was amended and now includes a wide range of methods expanding the requirements to provide safe drinking water to customers. These means include inclusion of water treatment operator training, source water protection, providing funding for infrastructure improvements, as well as providing information to the public relating to water quality.
The law protects not only the drinking water end product, but also the sources (where drinking water comes from) of water including: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs and groundwater wells, however it does not regulate private wells. Together the US EPA, each of the states, tribes and water agencies partner to protect drinking water throughout the country. Most of the supervision of these regulations is handled at the state level. At the local level, each public water system must remain within the standards.
Scientific testing is required on a daily or monthly basis to test for contaminants. If water testing proves that water quality is not within allowable limits, water agencies are required to notify customers immediately. Each year, the Safe Drinking Water Act requires that public water agencies produce a consumer confidence report, also known as a water quality report. This report must be made available to all customers as required by law. The report contains information pertaining to contaminant levels found in drinking water, as well as the allowable limits for each of these constituents. Regulation is in place to protect against pollution to source water that can impact drinking water.
When setting regulations for tap water standards, the US EPA prioritizes contaminants, also called constituents, by risk and how often they are present in water supplies. In addition, a public health goal is in place to help assess risks to individuals with compromised immune systems (infants, children, child-bearing women, elderly, etc.) Contaminants found in water are reported and monitored. Drinking water standards are legally enforceable and if not followed, both the US EPA and the states can take action. The Safe Drinking Water Act maintains a nationwide standard to protect the integrity of tap water in the U