Local drinking water is coming from contaminated groundwater sources, a report out from the State Water Resources Control Board shows.
According to the January 2013 report to the state legislature, Rancho California Water District, Eastern Municipal Water, and Farm Mutual Water all relied on contaminated groundwater sources between the years 2002 and 2012.
The agencies are among 680 statewide cited in the report.
According to the report, six of Eastern Municipal’s 35 system wells were contaminated. Among the contaminates found were barium, nitrates, perchlorate, and tetrachloroethylene. The report also found that five of Rancho California's 43 wells had contaminates; arsenic and flouride were named. The Farm Mutual’s one well was contaminated with arsenic, according to the report.
Despite the findings, the report emphasizes that according to the California Department of Public Health, 98 percent of Californians on public supply systems are receiving safe water.
“Although many water suppliers draw from contaminated groundwater sources, most suppliers are able to treat the water or blend it with cleaner supplies before serving it to the public. Consequently, when this report refers to communities that rely on contaminated groundwater, it is referring to community public water systems that draw water from one or more contaminated groundwater wells prior to any treatment or blending,” the report reads.
Many groundwater basins throughout California are contaminated with either naturally occurring or human-caused pollutants, or both, the report indicates. As a result, many community water systems in the state incur significant costs to remove the contaminants from the groundwater before serving it to their customers as drinking water, according to the report.
“Some community water systems, however, cannot afford treatment or lack alternative water sources, and have served water that exceeds a public drinking water standard,” the report continues.
The California Department of Public Health compiles a list of violators. In its most recent 2011 report, none of the above agencies are named.