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
- 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
- Chromium 6 Index
ACWA California Water Facts
- Chromium Fact Sheet
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- 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
- PWDs 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
- 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
- Quarterly Nitrate testing of well water versus CDHS
requirements of one sample per year.
- 23 Total Organic Carbon samples this year versus no state
- Comprehensive Lake Treatment Program beyond state
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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
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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