Salinas 2020 Water Quality Report

Welcome

Water dropWe encourage you to review this annual water quality report, also called your Consumer Confidence Report, as it details any constituents detected in your water supply in 2020 and shows how your water compares to federal and state standards.

If you have any questions, please Contact Us. We are here to assist you.

Your Water System

Water pipesDistrict: Salinas
System: Salinas
System ID: #2710010

Cal Water has provided high-quality water utility services in the Salinas area since 1962. Our customers receive groundwater produced by 31 wells and distributed through a system of four storage tanks, 14 booster pumps, and 300 miles of pipeline. We proactively maintain and upgrade our facilities to ensure a reliable, high-quality supply.

Our company-wide water quality assurance program includes vigilant monitoring throughout our systems and testing at our state-of-the-art laboratory. Our greatest water quality challenges in and around the Salinas area are nitrate levels, MTBE, and seawater intrusion. We are working closely with the state's Regional Water Quality Control Board and Monterey County Water Resources Agency to address these issues.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please contact our local Customer Center, either by phone at (831) 757-3644 or through the Contact Us page.

DWSAPP

By the end of 2002, Cal Water had submitted to the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) a Drinking Water Source Assessment and Protection Program (DWSAPP) report for each water source in the water system. The DWSAPP report identifies possible sources of contamination to aid in prioritizing cleanup and pollution prevention efforts. All reports are available for viewing or copying at our Customer Center.

The water sources in the Salinas system are considered most vulnerable to:

  • Wastewater
  • Agricultural wells/drainage
  • Animal feeding operations
  • Grazing
  • Farm machinery repair
  • Farm chemical distributor/application service
  • Pesticide/fertilizer/petroleum storage and transfer areas
  • Chemical/petroleum processing or storage
  • Confirmed leaking underground storage tanks
  • Gas stations
  • Dry cleaners
  • Utility stations (maintenance areas)
  • Automobile repair shops
  • Furniture repair/manufacturing
  • Machine shops
  • Maintenance/fueling areas (railroads, airports)
  • Research laboratories
  • Military installations
  • Photo processing

We encourage customers to join us in our efforts to prevent water pollution and protect our most precious natural resource.

The Water Quality Lab

Lab equipmentWater professionals collect samples from throughout the water system for testing at our state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, which is certified each year through the stringent Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). Scientists, chemists, and microbiologists test the water for 326 constituents with equipment so sensitive it can detect levels as low as one part per trillion. In order to maintain the ELAP certification, all of our scientists must pass blind-study proficiency tests for every water quality test performed. Water quality test results are entered into our Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), a sophisticated software program that enables us to react quickly to changes in water quality and analyze water quality trends in order to plan effectively for future needs.

Possible Contaminants

Lab workAll drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk.

More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

The sources of drinking water (both tap and bottled) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in source water include:

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, agricultural application, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA and DDW prescribe regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised people, such as those with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, those who have undergone organ transplants, and those with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders; some elderly people; and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice from their health care providers about drinking water. EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline.

About Lead

MoleculesAs the issue of lead in water continues to be top of mind for many Americans, Cal Water wants to assure you about the quality of your water. We are compliant with health and safety codes mandating use of lead-free materials in water system replacements, repairs, and new installations. We have no known lead service lines in our systems. We test and treat (if necessary) water sources to ensure that the water delivered to customer meters meets all water quality standards and is not corrosive toward plumbing materials.

The water we deliver to your home meets lead standards. However, if present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing (for example, lead solder used to join copper plumbing, and brass and other lead-containing fixtures).

Cal Water is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water to our customers' meters, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking.

If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested by a certified lab. More information about lead in drinking water can be found on the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.

Testing for Lead in Schools

The State of California required that all public schools built before 2010 test for lead in their drinking water by July 1, 2019. We are committed to supporting our school districts' efforts to protect students and ensure that the drinking water at their school sites are below lead limits. We worked with all school districts in our service area that serve kindergarten through 12th grade to develop sampling plans, test samples, and conduct follow-up monitoring, if needed, for corrective actions.

For more information, please see our Testing for Lead in Schools web page. For specific information regarding local school data, see the state web portal.

Lead and Copper Rule

The lead and copper rule requires us to test water inside a representative number of homes that have plumbing most likely to contain lead and/or lead solder to determine the presence of lead and copper or any action level exceedance (AL). An action level is the concentration of a contaminant which, when exceeded, triggers corrective actions before it becomes a health concern. If action levels are exceeded, either at a customer's home or system-wide, we work with the customer to investigate the issue and/or implement corrosion control treatment to reduce lead levels.

Lead Service Line Inventory (LSLI)

Protecting our customers' health and safety is our highest priority. As part of this commitment, we have been working to identify and replace any old customer water service lines and fittings that may contain lead. California Senate Bill (SB) 1398 required all water utilities in California to develop an inventory of all distribution service line materials, and submit a list of known service lines to the state by 2018. A list of unknown service lines that may contain lead, along with a plan for replacement, was due to the state by July 1, 2020. Known lines are replaced as soon as possible.

More information regarding LSLI and specific data for each water system can be found on the state web site.

Key Definitions

Cat drinking waterMaximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. Primary MCLs protect public health and are set as close to the PHGs (or MCLGs) as are economically and technologically feasible. Secondary MCLs (SMCLs) relate to the odor, taste, and appearance of drinking water.

In Compliance: Does not exceed any applicable MCL, SMCL, or action level, as determined by DDW. For some compounds, compliance is determined by averaging the results for one source over a one-year period.

Regulatory Action Level (AL): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other required action by the water provider.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs are set by the EPA.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG): The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs are set by the EPA and do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

Non-Detect (ND): The constituent was not detected.

Notification Level (NL) and Response Level (RL): Health-based advisory levels for unregulated contaminants in drinking water. They are used by DDW to provide guidance to drinking water systems.

Primary Drinking Water Standard (PDWS): MCLs and MRDLs for contaminants that affect health, along with their monitoring, reporting, and water treatment requirements.

Public Health Goal (PHG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. PHGs are set by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment without regard to cost or available detection and treatment technologies.

Treatment Technique (TT): A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Table Introduction

Water dropsCal Water tests your water for more than 140 regulated contaminants and dozens of unregulated contaminants. The Water Quality Table lists only those contaminants that were detected.

In the table, water quality test results are divided into several major sections (as needed): "Primary Drinking Water Standards," "Secondary Drinking Water Standards," "State-Regulated Contaminants with Notification Levels," and "Unregulated Compounds." Primary standards protect public health by limiting the levels of certain constituents in drinking water. Secondary standards are set for substances that don't impact health but could affect the water's taste, odor, or appearance. Some unregulated substances (hardness and sodium, for example) are included for your information. The State allows us to monitor for some contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently. Some of our data, though representative, are more than one year old.

A list of codes found in the "Source" column and their definitions can be found at the bottom of this page.

Water Quality Table

Primary Drinking Water Standards

Microbiological Year Tested Unit MCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Distribution System-Wide Source
Highest Monthly
Total coliform 2020 Positive samples 5% (0) Yes 0.92% EN
Fecal coliform and E. coli 2020 Positive samples 11 (0) Yes 0 FE
Radiological Year Tested Unit MCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Groundwater Source
Range Average
Gross alpha particle activity2 2014-2020 pCi/L 15 (0) Yes ND-21 6.7 ER
Radium 226 2013-2020 pCi/L n/a 0.05 n/a ND-1.2 ND ER
Uranium 2015-2020 pCi/L 20 0.43 (0) Yes 1.3-19 6.2 ER
Inorganic Chemicals Year Tested Unit MCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Range Average Source
Arsenic3 2014-2020 ppb 10 0.004 (0) Yes ND-8.3 2.1 ER, OC
Barium 2018-2020 ppm 1 2 (2) Yes ND-0.14 ND ER, OD
Chromium (total) 2018-2020 ppb 50 (100) Yes ND-15 ND ER, SP
Fluoride 2018-2020 ppm 2 1 (4.0) Yes 0.14-0.40 0.28 ER, FL
Nickel 2018-2020 ppb 100 12 Yes ND-11 ND ER, MF
Nitrate as N4 2020 ppm 10 10 (10) Yes 0.44-8.7 4.1 ER, FR
Selenium 2018-2020 ppb 50 30 (50) Yes ND-15 ND PG, ER
Lead and Copper Year Tested Unit AL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Distribution System-Wide Source
90th Percentile Samples > AL
Copper 2019 ppm 1.3 0.3 Yes 0.57 0 of 51 IC, ER, WD
Lead 2019 ppb 15 0.2 Yes ND 0 of 51 IC, IM, ER
Schools that requested lead sampling in 2020: 0
Volatile Organic Chemicals Year Tested Unit MCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Groundwater Source
Range Average
Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)5 2018-2020 ppb 13 13 Yes ND-15.9 2 LE, PC
Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) 2018-2020 ppb 5 0.06 (0) Yes ND-1.5 ND FD
Disinfection Byproducts Year Tested Unit MCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Distribution System-Wide Source
Range Highest Annual Average
Haloacetic acids 2020 ppb 60 n/a Yes ND ND DI
Total trihalomethanes 2020 ppb 80 n/a Yes ND-3.9 3.2 DI
Disinfectants Year Tested Unit MRDL MRDLG In Compliance Distribution System-Wide Source
Range Average
Free chlorine 2020 ppm 4 4 Yes ND-2.1 1.1 DS

Secondary Drinking Water Standards

Contaminant Year Tested Unit SMCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Groundwater Source
Range Average
Chloride 2016-2020 ppm 500 n/a Yes 41-252 105 RU, SW
Color 2013-2020 UNITS 15 n/a Yes ND-3 ND OM
Specific conductance 2016-2020 US 1600 n/a Yes 580-1500 960 SW, IO
Iron 2018-2020 ppb 300 n/a Yes ND-120 7.1 RU, IW
Surfactants 2018-2020 ppb 500 n/a Yes ND-100 ND MU
Manganese 2018-2020 ppb 50 n/a Yes ND-37 ND RU
Odor 2013-2020 T.O.N. 3 n/a Yes ND-2.0 ND OM
Sulfate 2018-2020 ppm 500 n/a Yes 22-340 124 RU, IW
Total dissolved solids 2018-2020 ppm 1000 n/a Yes 350-1000 598 RU
Turbidity (groundwater) 2013-2020 NTU 5 n/a Yes ND-0.27 ND SO

State Regulated Contaminants with Notification Levels

Contaminant Year Tested Unit NL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Groundwater Source
Range Average
Boron 2018 ppm 1 n/a Yes ND-0.16 ND UR
Chromium (hexavalent)6 2014-2020 ppb n/a 0.02 n/a ND-7.2 4.2 UR
N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) 2012-2020 ppt 10 3 Yes ND-2.0 ND UR
Vanadium 2017-2020 ppb 50 n/a Yes 5.2-17 11 UR

Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR)

Contaminant Year Tested Unit MCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Groundwater Source
Range Average
1-Butanol 2020 ppb n/a n/a n/a ND-3.8 ND UR
Germanium 2020 ppb n/a n/a n/a ND-0.36 ND UR

Unregulated Compounds

Year Tested Unit MCL PHG (MCLG) In Compliance Groundwater Source
Constituent Range Average
Alkalinity (total) 2018-2020 ppm n/a n/a n/a 150-190 173 UR
Calcium 2018-2020 ppm n/a n/a n/a 30-180 85 UR
Hardness (total) 2018-2020 ppm n/a n/a n/a 120-190 160 UR
Potassium 2018-2020 ppm n/a n/a n/a 1.4-6.8 3.3 UR
Magnesium 2018-2020 ppm n/a n/a n/a 6.4-58 30 UR
Sodium 2018-2020 ppm n/a n/a n/a 41-130 71 UR
pH 2019-2020 STD U n/a n/a n/a 6.7-8.1 7.3 PH

1 This means one total coliform-positive routine sample and one repeat sample, with one of these also being E. coli-positive.

2 Gross alpha (α) particle activity was detected at 20 pCi/L (picocuries per liter), which is in excess of the MCL of 15 pCi/L; however, compliance is based on a running annual average, which remains below the MCL. Cal Water closely monitors the Gross α particle activity. Certain minerals are radioactive and may emit a form of radiation known as alpha radiation. Some people who drink water containing α-emitters in excess of the MCL over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

3 While your drinking water meets the federal and state standards for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. The arsenic standards balance the current understanding of arsenic's possible health effects against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water. The EPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects, such as skin damage and circulatory problems.

4 The average nitrate level was 4.1 ppm, with a maximum level of 8.7 ppm. We are closely monitoring the nitrate levels. Nitrate in drinking water at levels above 10 ppm is a health risk for infants of less than six months of age. Such nitrate levels in drinking water can interfere with the capacity of the infant's blood to carry oxygen, resulting in a serious illness; symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin. Nitrate levels above 10 ppm may also affect the ability of the blood to carry oxygen in other individuals, such as pregnant women and those with certain specific enzyme deficiencies. If you are caring for an infant or you are pregnant, you should seek advice from your health care provider.

5 In one MTBE sample collected, the value was greater than the MCL; however, a confirmation sample was collected with a result of 3.02, and the average was below the MCL. The running annual average is also below the MCL and within compliance. Some people who use water containing MTBE in excess of the MCL over many years may have increased risk of getting cancer.

6 The previous MCL of 0.010 mg/L (10 ppb) for hexavalent chromium was withdrawn on September 11, 2017, and there is currently no MCL in effect.

Substance Sources

ASInternal corrosion of AC water mains
BBMajor biodegradation byproduct of TCE and PCE groundwater contamination
BDBiodegradation byproduct of TCE and PCE groundwater contamination
BHResidue of banned herbicide
BIResidue of banned insecticide
BNBanned nematocide that may still be present in soils due to runoff/leaching from former use on soybeans, cotton, vineyards, tomatoes, and tree fruit
BRResidue of banned insecticide and rodenticide
BTBanned nematocide that may still be present in soils due to runoff and leaching from grain and fruit crops
CFDischarge from industrial chemical factories
CPDischarge from chemical plants and other industrial activities
DCDischarge from industrial and agricultural chemical factories and dry cleaning facilities
DIByproduct of drinking water disinfection
DKDecay of natural and manmade deposits
DSDrinking water disinfectant added for treatment
EFDischarge from electroplating factories, leather tanneries, wood preservation, chemical synthesis, refractory production, and textile manufacturing facilities
ENNaturally present in the environment
ERErosion of natural deposits
EXExtraction and degreasing solvent; used in manufacture of pharmaceuticals, stone, clay and glass products; fumigant
FDDischarge from factories, dry cleaners, and auto shops (metal degreaser)
FEHuman and animal waste
FIFire retardants; ceramics; electronics; solder
FLWater additive that promotes strong teeth; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories
FMPrimary component of some fumigants
FRRunoff and leaching from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks and sewage
FSFuel solvent
FWManufacture of food wrappings
GPInternal corrosion of galvanized pipes; discharge from electroplating and industrial chemical factories and metal refineries; runoff from waste batteries and paint
HBRunoff/leaching from herbicide used on beans, peppers, corn, peanuts, rice, and ornamental grasses
HDRunoff from herbicide use for terrestrial and aquatic weeds; defoliant
HEHerbicide runoff
HPBreakdown of heptachlor
HRRunoff from herbicide used on row crops
HSRunoff from herbicide used on soybeans, vegetables, and fruits
HTRunoff from herbicide use for terrestrial and aquatic weeds
IADischarge from industrial and agricultural chemical factories; leaching from hazardous waste sites; used as cleaning and maintenance solvent, paint and varnish remover, and cleaning and degreasing agent; byproduct of production of other compounds and pesticides
ICInternal corrosion of household plumbing systems
IDIndustrial discharges
IFDischarge from industrial factories; degreasing solvent; propellant and refrigerant
ILRunoff/leaching from insecticide used on cattle, lumber, and gardens
IMDischarge from industrial manufacturers
INRunoff/leaching from insecticide used on cotton and cattle
IOSubstances that form ions when in water
ITRunoff/leaching from insecticide used on field crops, fruits, and ornamentals, especially apples, potatoes, and tomatoes
IVRunoff/leaching from insecticide used on fruits, vegetables, alfalfa, and livestock
IWIndustrial waste
LARunoff from landfills; discharge of waste chemicals
LELeaking underground storage tanks
MADischarge from metal refineries and agricultural chemical factories; byproduct of chlorination reactions in wastewater
MDDischarge from metal-degreasing sites and other factories
MFDischarge from metal factories
MRDischarge from metal refineries, coal-burning factories, and electrical, aerospace, and defense industries
MSDischarge from metal degreasing sites and other factories; dry cleaning solvent; refrigerant
MUMunicipal and industrial waste discharges
OCRunoff from orchards; glass and electronics production waste
ODDischarges of oil-drilling waste and from metal refineries
OMNaturally occurring organic materials
ORLeaching from ore-processing sites; discharge from electronics, glass, and drug factories
PCDischarge from petroleum and chemical factories
PDDischarge from plastics, dyes, and nylon factories; leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills
PGDischarge from petroleum, glass, and metal refineries; discharge from mines and chemical manufacturers; runoff from livestock lots (feed additive)
PHInherent characteristic of water
PIDischarge from pharmaceutical and chemical factories; insecticide
PRInorganic chemical used in solid rocket propellant, fireworks, explosives, flares, matches, and a variety of industries; usually gets into drinking water as a result of environmental contamination from historic aerospace or other industrial operations that used or use, store, or dispose of perchlorate and its salts
PTDischarge from petroleum refineries
PVLeaching from PVC piping; discharge from plastics factories; biodegradation byproduct of TCE and PCE groundwater contamination
RBDischarge from rubber and chemical factories; inert ingredient in pesticides
RCRunoff from herbicide used on row crops, range land, lawns, and aquatic weeds
RFDischarge from refineries and factories; runoff from landfills and cropland
RIRunoff/leaching from rice herbicide
RURunoff/leaching from natural deposits
RPDischarge from rubber and plastic factories; leaching from landfills
RRRunoff from herbicide used on row crops and along railroad and highway rights-of-way
RSResidue from some surface water treatment processes
RTRunoff/leaching from nematocide used on croplands
RWRunoff from herbicide used on rights-of-way, and crops and landscape maintenance
SFLeaching of soil fumigant used on rice, alfalfa, and grape vineyards
SMDischarge from steel/metal, plastic, and fertilizer factories
SOSoil runoff
SPDischarge from steel and pulp mills and chrome plating
SWSeawater influence
TCDischarge from industrial and agricultural chemical factories; solvent used in production of TCE, pesticides, varnish, and lacquers
TXDischarge from textile-finishing factories
UNUnderground gas tank leaks
VAVarious natural and manmade sources
WDLeaching from wood preservatives
WIEmissions from waste incineration and other combustion
WPDischarge from wood preserving factories, cotton, and other insecticidal/herbicidal uses
WSLeaching from linings of water storage tanks and distribution mains
URUnregulated constituents with no source listed and that do not have standardized "source of substance" language

Thank You

DaisyA full-color, printable version of this report in PDF format is also available.

If you have any questions about your water quality table, please Contact Us.