Communities that rely on a contaminated groundwater source for drinking water
California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) | January 1st, 2013
AB 2222 (Caballero, Chapter 670, Statutes of 2008) requires the State Water Resources Control Board to submit a report to the Legislature that identifies: 1) communities in California that rely on contaminated groundwater as a primary source of drinking water; 2) the principal contaminants and other constituents of concern; and 3) potential solutions and funding sources to clean up or treat groundwater or provide alternative water supplies.
A “community,” for the purposes of this report, is defined as a Community Public Water System (Health and Safety Code Section 116395). When this report refers to communities that rely on a contaminated groundwater source, it is referring to community public water systems that draw water from a contaminated groundwater source prior to any treatment. Over 95 percent of the 38 million Californians get their drinking water from a public water system. The findings in this report do not reflect private domestic wells or other unregulated water systems since the state does not require these groundwater users to sample their wells, and consequently a comprehensive database for these groundwater sources does not exist.
This report identifies 680 community water systems that, prior to any treatment, relied on a contaminated groundwater source during the most recent California Department of Public Health (CDPH) compliance cycle (2002-2010). It is important to note that, according to CDPH, over 98% of Californians on public water supply are served safe drinking water.
Although many water suppliers draw from contaminated groundwater sources, most suppliers are able to treat the water or blend it with cleaner supplies before serving it to the public. Consequently, when this report refers to communities that rely on contaminated groundwater, it is referring to community public water systems that draw water from one or more contaminated groundwater wells prior to any treatment or blending.
Some community water systems, however, cannot afford treatment or lack alternative water sources, and have served water that exceeds a public drinking water standard. Of the 680 community water systems that rely on a contaminated groundwater source, 265 have served water that exceeded a public drinking water standard during the most recent CDPH compliance cycle (2002-2010).