AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER
COACHELLA ADDRESSES NEW CHROMIUM-6 REGULATIONS
We know you may have heard about chromium-6 in the news lately, particularly since California is the first and only state in the nation to set a drinking water standard for this naturally occurring mineral.
The Coachella Water Authority has been working hard to find the most economical way to treat five of its wells that are impacted by this new regulation. The new level is 10 parts per billion.
In the meantime, your tap water is safe to use and drink. In other states and in bottled water, chromium-6 levels may be as high as 100 parts per billion and still meet federal drinking water standards set by EPA. Bottled water can be purchased at the following locations: Smart & Final, Food 4 Less, 99 Cents Only, Dollar Tree.
WHAT IS COACHELLA DOING TO COMPLY WITH THE NEW REGULATIONS?
Coachella Water Authority worked proactively to meet the new chromium-6 standard even before it was adopted by the State. The Water Authority has selected a conventional ion exchange system to reduce chromium-6 levels and avoid fines for non-compliance with the new state standard. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.
Treatment technology is costly. To lower the burden on ratepayers, the Water Authority is pursuing all possible grant funding. The cost of an ion exchange system on the well sites will range from $10-$16 million. Additionally, it will require $2-3 million per year in operational and maintenance cost, which will require rates to increase.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR WATER QUALITY?
Enclosed you will find information about drinking water testing and the state health standard for chromium-6. The results shown in the table below indicate that Coachella Water Authority must treat its supplies to comply with the regulation.
FREQUENLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are there health concerns related to chromium-6?
There is no immediate health threat, even in areas with levels of chromium-6 above 10 parts per billion. It is still safe to drink, cook with and use your tap water. The state is regulating chromium-6 to reduce the potential health risk to some people who drink the water over 75 years, and continues to monitor any possible long-term effects. Some people who drink water containing hexavalent
chromium in excess of the MCL over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
More information can be found on the CalEPA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website: www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/documents/chromium6/chromium_fact_sheet_2015_final.pdf
What is chromium-6?
Chromium-6, also known as hexavalent chromium, is a mineral that occurs naturally in rocks, plants and groundwater.
California lowered the maximum contaminant level, or MCL, for chromium-6 in 2014. This is the maximum amount that state health officials will allow in drinking water, after taking into account public health benefits and cost of implementation.
California’s standard is 10 parts per billion, which is more stringent than the level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One part per billion equals about one drop in 10,000 gallons.
Water providers with chromium-6 levels above the state standard are required to perform additional treatment, and have until 2020 to comply with the regulation.
Where can I find more information on the quality of my water?
The Coachella Water Authority reports the results of sampling for chromium-6 and other contaminants in its annual Consumer Confidence Report found at www.coachella.org/departments/water-department. You can also call Customer Service at 760.501.8100 for additional details.