Quality of drinking water in the area

Census tracts ranked by drinking water contamination, based on data released by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Steve Greenberg / Glendale News Press / April 23, 2014)

The levels of arsenic and chromium 6 in Glendale’s drinking water are above recommended goals set by the state, giving local H20 a toxicity score in the 62nd percentile compared to other Los Angeles County cities, according to a report released by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Most tracts in the community earned scores like 57.74 out of 100, while a small southwestern section of Glendale had a score of 53.86, according to the report. By comparison, a majority of Pasadena earned a score around 51, while La Cañada Flintridge received a much higher 82.7.

Sam Delson, deputy director for external and legislative affairs for California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard, said the score was based on data gathered from water that was treated for carcinogens, but Glendale city officials contend the findings are based on untreated groundwater.

“It’s very vague, we’re not sure what they’re saying, we’re going to have to clarify,” said Steve Zurn, general manager of Glendale Water & Power.

Scoring is based on the presence of 12 carcinogenic and seven noncarcinogenic contaminants, said Delson.

He added the scores in the report are based on public health goals developed by the office and are not mandatory, unlike the actual maximum contaminant levels also set by the state.

One of the driving factor’s for Glendale’s score was its level of chromium 6, which state law says cannot exceed 10 parts per billion, Delson said.

Glendale gets about 70 percent of its water from the ground that’s later treated and blended with treated water purchased from the Metropolitan Water District of California, Zurn said.

When untreated, there’s about 26 parts per billion of chromium 6 in local groundwater, but that’s ultimately filtered down to five parts billion, he said.

The nonmandatory public health goal is .02 parts billion, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Another figure behind Glendale’s score was the amount of arsenic in the water, Delson said.

There’s 1.3 parts per billion of arsenic from water coming from the Glendale Treatment Plant, while the state’s maximum amount allowed is 10 and the public health goal is .004 parts per billion, according to the city’s most recent water quality report.

Overall, Zurn said Glendale’s water is safe to drink.

“Our water meets all state requirements, in fact, well below some state requirements and that’s what we deliver to our customers,” he said.

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Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.

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