Cal Water does not have elevated levels of nitrate in water supplied to its customers, the utility confirmed after a community meeting held earlier in the week informed attendees that some Salinas Valley residents should not drink their water due to the nitrate levels.
This week, the Salinas Basin Agriculture Stewardship Group held a meeting informing residents in the Salinas Valley that their water may not be safe due to elevated levels of nitrate in groundwater, and that they may be eligible for free bottled water. The utility received a number of inquiries from customers asking whether this applied to them. At times when nitrate levels increase in groundwater supplies, Cal Water activates treatment units to remove the nitrate before it sent into the distribution system.
“The water Cal Water provides to our customers continues to meet all federal and state water quality standards, including those set for nitrate,” said Brenda Granillo, Cal Water Salinas District Manager. “We have a rigorous water quality assurance program and continuously monitor water quality to ensure it is safe for our customers to use and drink, because protecting their health and safety is our highest priority.”
The maximum contaminant level (MCL), or limit set to protect public health, for nitrate is measured two ways. The MCL for nitrate in its full form (NO3) is 45 parts per million (ppm). The preferred measurement by the state is nitrate as nitrogen (N), which indicates the nitrogen portion of the nitrate molecule; this MCL is 10 ppm. Water quality test results for all of Cal Water’s systems in the Salinas Valley are well below both limits, Granillo added.
Detailed test results and more information about water quality is available in the utility’s annual Water Quality Report (also called Consumer Confidence Report) for each local area. Water Quality Reports can be accessed online, or by contacting the local Customer Center at (831) 757-3644 or by using the contact us form.