California’s Toxic Drinking Water

Source: Yuri Samsonov - 123RF

Since 2012, California law has declared a moral principle that states: “Every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.”

About 1 million Californians can’t safely drink their tap water.

The Ventura County Star reports that approximately 300 water systems in California currently have contamination issues, ranging from arsenic to lead to uranium at levels that create severe health issues.

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes taxing water across California to create a dedicated fund to solve the problem.

Imposing a new tax would require a two-thirds supermajority of the Legislature to pass.

According to a report in the Sacramento Bee, neighborhoods in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are conscious of the danger posed by lead pipes in their schools.

Rural communities, like those of the Eastern Coachella and Salinas valleys, are awake to the acute water infrastructure disparities plaguing their underserved residents.

The Bee report adds, little progress has been made to fix water supplies contaminated with nitrates, arsenic and other harmful elements that have threatened the public health of communities throughout our state for decades.

With this in mind, Gov. Newsom has assembled a broad coalition to tackle this problem head-on, committed to making 2019 the year California finally delivers on the promise of safe, affordable drinking water to all of its residents.

The EPA sets legal limits on over 90 contaminants in drinking water. The legal limit for a contaminant reflects the level that protects human health and that water systems can achieve using the best available technology.

EPA rules also set water-testing schedules and methods that water systems must follow.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) gives individual states the opportunity to set and enforce their own drinking water standards if the standards are at a minimum as stringent as EPA’s national standards.