Water Quality: Statement from CalWater
Many may have recently seen a new article regarding contaminants in California water (PV Patch Article). Please be sure to read California Water Service's response and assurance your water is safe ...
Statement from CalWater:
You may have seen some reports about the release of a new water quality database by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Because there is a significant amount of information included in the database that may be confusing to those outside of the water utility industry, we wanted to take this opportunity to make sure you have accurate information about the safety of the drinking water we at California Water Service (Cal Water) provide to our customers.
Most importantly, the information released by EWG confirms that the treated water we provide to customers is “in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.” To ensure our customers are aware of the quality of the water we provide to them, we prepare an annual Water Quality Report that explains the steps we take to protect public health and safety. The most recent Water Quality Report for our local service area confirms that, in 2016, we met every primary and secondary state and federal water quality standard. You can find our annual Water Quality Reports here:
Where our customers may get confused is that the EWG database also includes information about the quality of raw water, or water that has not been treated prior to being supplied to customers. While knowing what constituents may be present in raw water is important – it is how we know what water treatment systems we need to use – it is not, in and of itself, an indicator of the safety of the water we provide to customers after we rigorously test and treat it for regulated constituents. The regulatory standards with which we are required to comply are known as maximum contaminant levels, or MCLs, which are set by state and federal public health experts, including California’s State Water Resources Control Board.
Our Customers may also be confused by the fact that the EWG database includes information about public health goals (PHG). Unlike MCLs, PHGs are not regulatory standards, and are “not a boundary line between a ‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’ level of a contaminant.” PHGs are set without any consideration of the cost or availability of detection and treatment technologies. In some cases, the technology may not even exist to achieve the PHG. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the agency responsible for setting PHGs, has explained that as “long as drinking water complies with all MCLs, it is considered safe to drink, even if some contaminants exceed PHG levels.”
Our absolute highest priority is protecting the health and safety of our customers and we go to great lengths to ensure that the water we provide to them meets all state and federal water quality standards.