There have been recent news articles about the presence of Hexavalent Chromium, or the “Erin Brockovich” chemical in water systems throughout the United States. The articles are based on a report that focuses on the presence of Hexavalent Chromium, or Chromium-6, in water systems and proposals to create or modify existing regulations for this chemical. According to the report, more than 200 million people are being exposed to Chromium-6 in their water supply.
The chemical Hexavalent Chromium naturally occurs in rock, plants and soil. It is odorless and cannot be tasted. The film “Erin Brockovich” was based on the real-life situation that occurred in 1993 in Hinkley, California. In that case, the levels of Hexavalent Chromium found in the water system were hundreds of times greater than the levels present in public water systems.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continually evaluates the risks of contamination to the water system and considers new drinking water regulations, as needed, to protect public health. Over the past few years, the EPA has been considering regulating the presence of Hexavalent Chromium in drinking water.
As part of its evaluation process, the EPA required that certain water systems test their water for Hexavalent Chromium. PVWC was one of the water systems that participated in that testing.
The current EPA maximum contaminant limit is 100 ppb for total Chromium. In 2014, California became the first state to regulate Hexavalent Chromium, with a Maximum Contaminant Limit of 10 parts per billion. Testing of PVWC’s treatment plant and distribution systems found Hexavalent Chromium levels ranging from a low of 0.038 ppb (parts per billion) to 0.120 ppb at the treatment plant.
The results of our tests were reported in our annual Water Quality Reports. The Water Quality Report is mailed each year to all bill-paying customers and posted on our website.
PVWC is always concerned about any potential risk to our water system. Our goal is to always provide clean, quality drinking waters to our customers.
To learn more about chromium in drinking water or the EWG report, visit the links below:
See the report from Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/release/ewg-brockovich-carcinogen-found-tap-water-200-million-americans
EPA webpage on Chromium in drinking water: https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations/chromium-drinking-water