Update regarding Water Availability, Water Quality Standards, and Changing the Taste of the Water
July 08, 2021
Linda County Water District Customers:
The year 2020 was certainly a difficult and challenging time for the entire country due to COVID 19 and the working out of social issues. I hope this letter finds you well as we in Linda are preparing to turn the page toward a fresh start to a hopefully post-pandemic era. The Linda County Water District (“Water District”) is sending this letter to reach out to the community with information about our water system related to water quality and to address the concerns of some of our customers.
Our Water District is blessed to have a reliable source of water to treat and provide to the community. We pump water from the groundwater aquifer in south Yuba County, a robust source that has benefitted from the proper water resource management of water users in the region for decades. Our groundwater aquifer provides a reliable water supply source we can depend on allowing us to meet our community’s drinking water needs for many years, if as a region, we continue with the same diligence to manage and maintain our supply.
As the State of California faces water shortages due to reduced surface water supplies i.e., low reservoir levels and spring runoff, or diminished groundwater supplies in other regions, statewide conservation mandates are likely to be issued in order to protect this precious resource in California. If these mandated conservation goals are issued by the State, our community will be required to participate. We are thankful that in this region, water conservation efforts allow us to be good stewards of our local water supply, even though our ability to provide essential water to our community is not in danger.
Water Quality Standards
This month the Water District is publishing its 2020 Consumer Confidence Report. This report is sent to the Water District’s drinking water service customers, required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”), providing information to the public with regards to the quality of the water provided by the Water District for domestic use.
The basis for this evaluation of the water quality are the standards established by the State of California Water Resources Control Board. These standards list maximum contaminant levels developed by the State as well as those established by the U.S. EPA and provide the foundation for evaluating water quality in the State of California.
The adopted water quality standards for the State of California are categorized in one of two sets of standards: 1) Primary Drinking Water Standards, standards that protect the health of those that consume the water and, 2) Secondary Drinking Water Standards, standards referring to the aesthetic quality of the water such as taste, odor and/or clarity of the water. We invite you to review the enclosed Consumer Confidence Report to familiarize yourself with the water quality metrics that make up the essence of the evaluation of our community’s drinking water supply.
The Water District is happy to inform you that none of the samples taken this year from our water system show any exceedance of primary drinking water standards, meaning that by all adopted water quality health standards, the water is safe to drink.
Regarding secondary or aesthetic water quality standards, the Water District did find indications of possible odor and turbidity measurements that would indicate a diminished quality water. These measurements occur primarily due to a reduction in the frequency of water system flushing performed by District staff, largely in an effort to meet State water conservation objectives. Water system flushing uses large quantities of water, and since the availability of water in the State has diminished in the last decade, the Water District has performed system flushing on a limited or local basis. The Water District is preparing a comprehensive system flushing to begin in July 2021, and during the process of flushing the water system to remove any accumulated sediment from the system pipelines, the water used in Linda may notice some occasional coloring in the water as the system is undergoing this maintenance. We anticipate that the planned system flushing will resolve our concerns with the water quality related to water clarity or odor.
Changing the Taste of the Water
Our community is growing at a remarkable pace as new homes are built, and people move into our region. Many of our new neighbors are from other areas that predominately use surface water, including rivers and reservoirs, as sources for their community water supply. Surface water has a different taste than groundwater, and to a large extent the flavor of a local water supply is an acquired taste. Groundwater tends to be higher in mineral content and hardness and tastes different than surface water. To a person accustomed to the taste of surface water, the distinctive flavor of drinking water from a groundwater source may be unpalatable.
The Water District’s mandate is to provide water that meets the primary and secondary water quality standards set by the California State Water Board. When meeting these standards, the Water District is considered to be providing water to the community that meets all of the essential requirements for the protection of public health and aesthetic qualities of water, including taste. The Water District cannot expend public funds to change the source of our water supply or to modify the taste of our groundwater after secondary water quality standards are attained. In other words, our Water District is unable to raise water rates in order to use public funds to meet a subjective goal that is over and above the standards mandated by California’s adopted water quality criteria.
The staff of our Water District feels a tremendous responsibility in providing safe water to the community of Linda in the most cost-effective manner possible, and we are thankful to this community for the privilege of serving you and caring for the important community resources that are comprised of our water supply and water treatment and delivery system.
Brian Davis, P.E.
Linda County Water District