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Palmdale Water District


October 13, 2000

Updated November 20, 2000

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P.W.D. Action | Consumer Information

The Palmdale Water District is providing the following information to help you understand the issue of Chromium 6 in water raised by the Los Angeles County study.

  • Chromium is an inorganic chemical that is used in electroplating, leather tanning, wood treatment, pigments manufacture, cooling tower treatment for corrosion control, and petroleum refining operations.
  • Chromium can enter drinking water sources through discharges from industries, leaching from hazardous waste sites, and erosion of natural deposits.
  • The California Department of Health Services (CDHS) set the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Total Chromium at 50 ppb.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) MCL for Total Chromium is 100 ppb.
  • Total Chromium is made up of Trivalent Chromium [Cr (III)], which is a required nutrient, and Chromium 6, which the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) lists as a carcinogen.
  • Currently there is no MCL for Chromium 6.
  • The USEPA and CDHS regulate California water agencies.
  • Dr. Paul Simon, Director of Health at the OEHHA has proposed creating a Public Health Goal (PPG) of 2.5 ppb for Total Chromium and 0.2 ppb for Chromium 6.
  • The California Department of Health Services (CDHS) has determined that chromium is a health concern at certain levels of exposure.
  • Humans exposed to high levels of chromium suffer liver and kidney damage, dermatitis and respiratory problems. The CDHS has set the drinking water standard for chromium at 50 ppb to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects.
  • Currently there are differing opinions between OEHHA, USEPA, CDHS and the National Institute of Occupational Health as to the cancer risks at lower levels of exposure to Chromium 6. OEHHA says Chromium 6 IS a carcinogen if ingested in water; USEPA says it IS NOT a carcinogen by ingestion. There is evidence that Chromium 6 may be reduced to Cr (III) in the human body.
  • CDHS will soon require semi-annual testing for Chromium 6 by water system operators to gather more information. This information will be used by them to help answer questions like the following: Is Chromium 6 found in water at such low levels naturally occurring? How good are readily available treatment methods? How low is low enough? What are the benefits achieved and the cost to society?
  • For additional information visit these web sites:

OEHHA - Public Health Goals (PDF file for Chromium)

CDHS - Contaminent Levels for Review, Based on Public Health Goals

CDHS - Chromium 6 Index

ACWA California Water Facts - Chromium Fact Sheet

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Palmdale Water District Action:

  • The Palmdale Water District has tested for Total Chromium for several years. Seven out of twenty-five District wells show Total Chromium and fall within the 10 ppb to 15 ppb range for Total Chromium (ppb = Parts Per Billion).
  • PWD’s primary goal is to provide its customers with the highest quality water possible. To reassure the public that our water is, indeed, safe, the District has sampled all wells, treatment plant effluent, and the distribution system (a total of 61 samples) for Chromium 6. The District will keep you informed of the results of these tests.
  • The District has always taken a pro-active stance in issues to protect our precious water resource. PWD was one of the first water agencies in the state to establish a Source Water Protection and Wellhead Protection Program. It is used by the CDHS as a model for other agencies to follow.
  • Additionally, the Palmdale Water District exceeds the contaminant monitoring requirements of the CDHS. For example:
    • Total MTBE testing of Palmdale Lake and treated water exceeded 300 samples this year versus CDHS requirements of one sample per year.
    • Quarterly Radon testing of well water versus no state requirement.
    • 96 annual samples to test for TTHM in water versus CDHS requirement of 16 samples.
    • Weekly Coliform tests on all water sources versus no state requirement.
    • Quarterly Nitrate testing of well water versus CDHS requirements of one sample per year.
    • 23 Total Organic Carbon samples this year versus no state requirement.
    • Comprehensive Lake Treatment Program beyond state requirements.

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Consumer Information:

Palmdale Water District reassures you there is no reason to panic. The effects of Chromium 6 at the levels recently found in Palmdale of 6.62 parts per billion (3600 times lower than the level found in Hinkley in 1996) do not indicate that the water is harmful. Therefore, switching to bottled water or a home treatment device is not considered necessary and is a personal choice. The Best Available Technology for removal of chromium for homeowners is Ion Exchange or Reverse Osmosis. You can contact the CDHS web site listed below for a list of treatment devices certified by the Department.

CDHS - Directory of Certified Treatment Devices


The Palmdale Water District has an extensive water awareness program that includes our own Water Awareness Fair, participation in the Palmdale Fall Festival, the Annual Home and Garden Show, and the Antelope Valley Fair. The District also provides tours of its treatment plant to local schools and various other civic groups. The focus of this program is to make you, the consumer, aware of and provide you with information on ALL water issues including conservation, water quality, and source water protection.


The recent articles regarding Chromium 6 have sparked heightened public interest in water quality, and the District welcomes any public involvement. Let your local, county, state, and federal representatives know that you support our efforts.


  • Contact Mr. Dennis LaMoreaux, General Manager; Mr. Greg Dluzak, Production and Control Superintendent; or Mr. Bo Labisi, Water Quality Specialist at 661-947-4111 with any questions.

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