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Officials: Murkier water not unhealthful

Castaic Lake Water Agency says some dust, scale and sediment was accidentally released during season

Posted: April 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.

About 70,000 Santa Clarita Valley water users are expected to receive a notice from the Castaic Lake Water Agency that water from their taps was murkier than it was allowed to be in mid-March — but that “cloudy” water poses no health problems.

Once every winter, the agency shuts down its Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant overlooking Central Park on Bouquet Canyon Road for maintenance.

Last month, water containing “miniscule” amounts of dust, scale and sediment was accidently released in the water system.

The occurrence is similar to the rust and dirt homeowners see spurting from their taps when they turn the water back on in their homes after it’s been shut off for awhile.

“The operators should have shut the plant down rather than trying to bring it back online,” said agency General Manager Dan Masnada.

The dust and sediment break free from the dry pipes when water is pumped back through them.

Since the agency violated certain conditions of its operating permit granted by the state Department of Public Health, agency heads are required to notify its customers of the “tier two” breach.

About 70,000 of the agency’s 90,000 customers could have been affected.

Most water customers in the Santa Clarita Valley receive a 50/50 mix of Castaic Lake Water Agency water and groundwater, whichever water district they live in.

“If there was a health problem, we would have been on the air about it immediately,” said Masnada.

And even though the “turbidity” or murkiness exceeded the state’s allowable level, the murkiness was so minute that it would not have been noticeable with the human eye, he said.

A formal announcement made by the water agency, as is also required by the state, is expected to appear in published local media Monday and in water bills beginning the same day.

In the meantime, the Rio Vista treatment plant remains shut down.


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