Drinking Water Test Result in California

| May 3, 2006 reverse osmosis banner vertical

The California State Department of Health, Drinking Water Division, Sacramento, California, collects all of the water test data from every public drinking water source in the State of California. These tests are required by the EPA and the State of California, due to possible health effects, when various metals, herbicides, pesticides, and other substances are found above state or federal standards in drinking water sources.

A review of all water tests in the State of California between 1984 and 2006 was conducted over a six-month period. Every water test result was analyzed and checked to find any unusual water contaminant data. The results of this search yielded some unusual statistics here in Mendocino and several other Northern California Counties.

It was discovered that Barium, Magnesium, Lead, Manganese, Aluminum, Iron, Sodium, and Specific Conductance (the ability of water to conduct a charge), were being found under unusual circumstances in our drinking water supplies. Unusual spikes were occurring in almost all drinking water sources in Mendocino County and in other counties throughout the State of California.

Prior to 1990, these spikes were not evident in drinking water tests results (most tests results were -0-), unless there were historic levels in the water shown by test results each year from 1984. The test results do show that in non-spike years these contaminants were not found in most water sources. Why?

These specific spikes started in 1991, and have continued in certain specific years through 2006. The interesting part of these water spikes is that these contaminants almost always spike at the same time and in the same year. If, for example, Specific Conductance is high, then all or almost all the other test results are high at the same time. (Other test results revealed that Boron, Silver, and sometimes Zinc were also present during these spikes in some water tests.)

The Albion Mutual Water Company East Well, used as only one example, shows Specific Conductance spiking in 1995, along with Magnesium and Lead. Again in 2001, Specific Conductance spikes and so does Magnesium and Manganese. The years prior to and in between these dates show -0- results. The Albion Mutual Water Company West Well, for example, shows all -0- readings until 1998, when Specific Conductance, Magnesium, Sodium, and Aluminum all spike.

The Calpella County Water District has definite spike patterns of Magnesium, Barium, Iron, and Manganese in the years 1995, 1998, and 2001. The Covelo Eel River Charter School Well 01, shows Magnesium, Barium, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, and Specific Conductance spikes in 1999 and 2001, with Specific Conductance reaching a high of 5,390.

In 1999, the Fort Bragg CSP-Mackerricher State Park Lake Cleone Intake Supply Raw, water tests show spiking in 1999 for Specific Conductance (1290), Magnesium (20), Chloride (325), Barium (54), and aluminum (64). Note that test results are in parts per billion. What is interesting is that Iron (1600 ppb) spikes in 2001, along with Manganese (2200 ppb), in this raw water supply.

The unusual part is that these water test results are consistent in almost every single public drinking water source in all of Mendocino County, whether in Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Hopland, Laytonville, or Willits. The spikes are consistent in some years; vary in parts per billion (ppb), but show that something unusual is happening to the air in Mendocino County which is impacting the quality of our water. Since these diverse water sources are not connected it is believed that air pollution is the major source of these contaminants in our drinking water supplies.

Why are these spikes only found since 1994? Why do these contaminants only spike as a group and not, in the majority of cases, independently of one another? And why is every single public drinking water source showing some form of this spike pattern? The California Air Resources Board Statewide Summary for Iron, Aluminum, Iron, Zinc, Manganese and Barium, also show positive air test results between 1989 and 2001. Our water test spikes appear to correlate strongly with California Air Quality test results. Why?

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What is causing these water spikes in Mendocino County? How is this impacting the quality of the water we drink? What impact do these spikes have on public health, the quality of our water, our air, soil, and trees? What is the source of these pollutants? Industry, jet fuel emissions…what is happening in Mendocino County and in other counties throughout California? There are many questions and few answers. Why are the California Air Resources Control Board Air Testing Results correlating in some respects with our positive water test results?

(In an article in the Sunday, February 23, 2003, edition of the Sacramento Bee, written by Chris Bowman, it was noted that Tungsten (not normally tested for in public drinking water supplies), was found in Elk Grove, Sacramento, in drinking water supplies, and in tests conducted on trees rings in that area as well. Similar results were found in Fallon, Nevada and Sierra Vista, Arizona.

The trees tested in this pilot project included Redwood trees and showed huge increases in Tungsten in the past ten years in tree ring tests. It would be interesting to determine whether Tungsten, a potential carcinogen may be found in Mendocino County trees, air, or public drinking water supplies.

Why hasn't the California State Department of Health or the EPA took action to find out why we are having these water test results in Mendocino County, especially when some of the test results are above both state and federal standards? If these contaminants are being found in public wells in Mendocino County. Does this mean that contaminants are also being found in private wells? Are similar patterns found in Humboldt, Lake, Sonoma, Napa, and other Northern California Counties? I believe that the answer is yes! Why?

There are many unanswered questions about these test results, this unusual spiking pattern, and the variation in test results. If you would like more information please contact your local, state, or federal elected public representatives and/or the California State Department of Health. If you are interested in an inexpensive and fast way to obtain these results for your individual water supply please contact your local water districts, like the City of Ukiah, or your county water district or drinking water supplier. They order the tests, which are subsequently sent to the California State Department of Health, Drinking Water Division, Sacramento, CA, to be recorded on their CD. These historical and current water test data results are available to the public in California under the California Public Records Act. These test results are available to the public in every state under EPA Rules and Regulations.

Extracted from NBC4, Special Report- “Toxic Sky”, May 3, 2006

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