Free lead testing available to schools

Free lead testing available to schools

K-12 schools in California can receive free testing for lead under new guidelines announced today by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Under the federal Lead and Copper Rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already requires public water systems to test for lead at customers’ taps, targeting the highest risk homes based on the age of their plumbing. There is no lead pipe in Helix’s water distribution system, including water mains and service lines to homes and buildings, and the district is in full compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule.

But the rule does not require testing for schools and businesses. The state water board’s new guidelines ensure schools that want lead testing can receive it for free by requiring community water systems, including Helix Water District, to test school drinking water upon written request by school officials.

Read the State Water Resources Control Board press release

State Water Board makes lead testing available to schools

State Water Board makes lead testing available to schools

K-12 schools in California can receive free testing for lead under new guidelines announced today by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Under the federal Lead and Copper Rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already requires public water systems to test for lead at customers’ taps, targeting the highest risk homes based on the age of their plumbing. There is no lead pipe in Helix’s water distribution system, including water mains and service lines to homes and buildings, and the district is in full compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule.

But the rule does not require testing for schools and businesses. The state water board’s new guidelines ensure schools that want lead testing can receive it for free by requiring community water systems, including Helix Water District, to test school drinking water upon written request by school officials.

Read the State Water Resources Control Board press release

Chromium-6

Chromium-6

This week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report titled Erin Brockovich Carcinogen in Tap Water of More Than 200 million Americans.

The nonprofit organization’s study analyzed chromium-6 sampling data collected by water systems throughout the U.S. between 2013 and 2015, and found that approximately 75 percent of the samples tested contained chromium-6 at levels at or above California’s Public Health Goal (PHG) of 0.02 parts per billion.

It is important to note that the State of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment sets the Public Health Goal for known carcinogens such as chromium-6,  “At a level that not more than one person in a population of one million people drinking the water daily for 70 years would be expected to develop cancer as a result of exposure to that chemical.”

A Public Health Goal is not a boundary line between a “safe” and “dangerous” level of a chemical, and drinking water is frequently demonstrated as safe to drink even if it contains chemicals at levels exceeding their Public Health Goals. Learn more about Public Health Goals.

Helix monitors for chromium-6 annually. Our most recent test results were 0.021 parts per billion. Our 2014 test results ranged from Non Detected (ND) to 0.049 parts per billion.

Chromium-6 is a heavy metal. It occurs naturally in California’s rock and soil and can enter the water supply through erosion. It can also leach into groundwater from industrial sites. Chromium-6 is used in textile dyes, wood preservation, leather tanning and anti-corrosion coatings.

Resources

Association of California Water Agencies Chromium-6 FAQs

State Water Resources Control Board Fact Sheet

Stanford harnesses the sun to purify water

Stanford harnesses the sun to purify water

It seems like nine out of ten news stories about California’s water are bad news — drought, climate change and outdated water policies. There is, however, a lot of good news out there about innovation in agriculture, industry and technology that leads one to a different conclusion — that we are on the path to a sustainable future, that we can get there. We will share these stories with you in the weeks and months ahead.

Today’s story is from Stanford University, which announced in June that it had analyzed fracking data from the oil industry to discover three times more groundwater under California’s Central Valley than prior studies indicated. Now, researchers at Stanford have developed a water treatment device that is the size of a Chiclet (remember those?) and powered by the sun. The device could alleviate waterborne illness in the developing world.

Read more at KQED.org

Photo: Stanford University

 

PFASs not detected in Helix’s water source

PFASs not detected in Helix’s water source

On August 9, 2016, the Harvard School of Public Health issued a press release titled, Unsafe levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water for six millions Americans. Please note, these toxic chemicals have not been found in Helix Water District’s water source and are not in the drinking water we provide.

You may have heard about Harvard’s study already. Over the last three days, stories about it have run on CBS News and CNN, and on numerous news websites including Time, the Washington Post and Science Daily.

Harvard studied the occurrence and level of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in public drinking water supplies. PFASs are chemicals used in fire-fighting foams and other industrial and commercial products and have been linked with cancer and other health issues.  PFASs don’t biodegrade. While several manufacturers, according to Harvard, have stopped using PFASs, these chemicals persist in the environment and can contaminate water resources.

The study analyzed two types of water quality data. First, it looked at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data collected from 2013 to 2015 from the 4,864 public drinking water systems in the U.S. serving more than 10,000 people. Helix Water District submitted four quarters of test results to the EPA in 2014. PFASs were not detected in any of the water samples we tested.

The study also analyzed industrial sites that manufacture or use PFASs, military bases and civilian airports where firefighting foam containing PFASs is used, and wastewater treatment plants. PFAS levels in water — streams, rivers and groundwater — were highest near these sites.

Want to learn more? Read this story on the PBS website.

Photo: UL

 

You know that fleece jacket you love?

You know that fleece jacket you love?

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have been washing fleece jackets — which does not sound like good use of our tax dollars. However, on June 20th, they announced that, on average, synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibers each wash. This is big, because it relates to a 2011 study that found that synthetic microfibers make up more than 85 percent of all human-made trash on shorelines worldwide, and that the fibers are killing freshwater and ocean fish.

Read the story in The Guardian

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