As of July 1, the state of California tightened the standards for the presence of the infamous chromium-6 chemical in drinking water. In its latest monthly newsletter to ratepayers, the Joshua Basin Water District described where it stands on the issue. Reporter Dan Stork summarizes the Joshua Basin Water District’s status…
Before July 1, the California standard was total chromium in drinking water was 50 parts per billion (ppb), and is now 10 ppb. April tests showed Joshua Basin Water District to be under the old limit, but over the new limit for total chromium, in all its wells. (Total chromium levels are tested, because the different forms of chromium can potentially transform into each other. The federal limit is 100 ppb.) The District says it has up to six months to begin testing under the regulations, with another four quarterly tests required, and it appears that it will be unable to meet the new state standards immediately. Since April, the District has begun planning in three areas to address the problem: depth dependent sampling, treatment avoidance methodologies, and treatment methodologies. It says it will work with several government agencies to develop a compliance plan, the implementation of which will take several years to complete. Costs of this regulation to Joshua Basin are unknown at this time; however they could exceed several million dollars. In the meantime, the newsletter assures ratepayers, “Your tap water can still be used for drinking, cooking, and all other needs. Chromium 6 is being regulated by the state, not because of immediate health risks, but rather for potential health impacts after many years of consumption.” The article goes on: “JBWD board members, staff, and their families confidently drink our tap water every day, and will continue to do so.”

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