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Even the Water District Managers Admit They cannot "practically" filter their water

By Maggie Fusek, Patch Staff


The general managers of two East Bay water districts offer reassurance to Pleasant Hill residents.

"The standards EWG uses as a basis for establishing health not balance the overall risk." 

PLEASANT HILL, CA — A recent story in Patch about a water-quality report prepared by the Environmental Working Group has prompted residents to contact the East Bay Municipal Utility District and Contra Costa Water District about the test results. While a response was included in the original story, EBMUD and CCWD have submitted a Letter to the Editor to reach as many customers as possible:

"The people and businesses of the East Bay count on reliable, high quality water supplies. East Bay Municipal Utility District and Contra Costa Water District work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to treat, test and deliver high-quality water to 1.9 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

"Recently, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released an updated 'tap water database' which includes data reported by water agencies nationwide. The information presented suggests our drinking water is unsafe and raises concerns about links to causing cancer.

"We want our customers to know that water supplied by EBMUD and CCWD is safe to drink. The
compounds in EBMUD's and CCWD's water mentioned in EWG's paper were detected at levels well
below state and federal drinking water limits.

"Water agencies across the country follow regulations based on the federal Safe Drinking Water Act,which requires a rigorous scientific process that evaluates potential health risk of compounds in drinking water and considers treatment options and costs of potential regulations. Here in California, state regulations for drinking water are often more stringent than federal standards.

"The EWG report highlights total trihalomethanes, or TTHMs, which are byproducts of the treatment processes both of our agencies use. The treatment process involves chlorine or chlorine based compounds to disinfect water to protect customers from known pathogens that historically were transmitted through water systems. Disinfection with chlorine is one of the biggest medical advances in history, and has led to longer life spans and virtually eliminated diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.

"The standards EWG uses as a basis for establishing health risks are not designed to regulate drinking water – they do not consider practical limitations, do not consider available or affordable technology, do not consider other tradeoffs, and do not balance the overall risk.

"Water agencies like ours are advancing research to inform future regulations and new innovations. To continue meeting or surpassing regulatory thresholds, we are investing your rate dollars in improvements to the systems that treat and deliver hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh, safe water every day.

"Information about what is in your drinking water can be found in EBMUD's and CCWD's annual Drinking Water Quality Reports. The reports, prepared for customers, summarize the results of thousands of water quality tests for hundreds of regulated and unregulated chemicals.

"We believe the more people understand about their water supply the more confident they are in their drinking water. Please visit EBMUD/Water Quality and Contra Costa Water/Water Quality."


Alexander R. Coate, General Manager East Bay Municipal Utility District
Jerry Brown, General Manager Contra Costa Water District

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