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Santa Clarita Valley water quality gets an 'A'

Annual report reveals chemicals, metals and other contaminants in local water

Posted: June 15, 2013 5:06 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2013 5:06 p.m.

When Santa Clarita Valley residents turn on their taps, the water that comes out is rated A-quality — clean and problem-free.

That’s the word from the Santa Clarita Valley 2013 Annual Water Quality Report issued last week. The report, released annually under the direction of the California Department of Public Health, reveals the results from a litany of harmful chemicals, metals and other water contaminants.

“The water quality testing indicates that we are meeting all health and safety standards,” said Dan Masnada, general manager of the Santa Clarita Valley’s water wholesaler, the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

The agency buys Northern California water wholesale from the State Water Project and sells it to four Santa Clarita Valley water retailers: the Newhall County Water District, Valencia Water Company, Santa Clarita Water Division and Los Angeles County Water Works District 36.

Water quality tests were carried out for each individual water retailer and at four separate sites managed by the Newhall County Water District: Castaic, Newhall, Pinetree and Tesoro.

Tests were also carried out at the agency’s perchlorate treatment plant, built to remove the rocket fuel byproduct from groundwater around the contaminated Whittaker-Bermite site.

Equipment used to detect minute particles of harmful substances can detect one microscopic part in a billion parts of water.

Masnada described one part per billion as one footstep in a walk from Earth to the moon.

“If you look at the distance to the moon as a billion units, with each unit being a foot, then one part per billion would be one step toward the moon, placing one foot in front of the other,” he said.

Tests were done on more than 36 contaminants identified as health concerns by state officials, and none exceeded the limits of “safe” set by state health officials.

Those results included chloride, the naturally occurring salt that Santa Clarita Valley residents are required to reduce to 100 milligrams per liter in wastewater leaving the valley.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it’s all right for humans to drink water with a chloride concentration of 250 milligrams per liter. In fact, we can safely drink water with double and triple that concentration for short periods of time.

The most common complaint about local water heard around the Santa Clarita Valley is its hardness — a function of dissolved salts and metals in the water.

None of those inorganic compounds — which include chloride, fluoride, nitrate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium — reaches the level of health hazards. But taken together, water quality officials admit, they do indeed result in the inconvenience of hard water — foggy glasses, dingy clothes and inefficienty operating appliances such as dishwashers.

Test results listing the degree of water “hardness” constituted the highest numbers listed in this year’s report.




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