Quality of drinking water in the area

Census tracts ranked by drinking water contamination, based on data released by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Steve Greenberg / Glendale News Press / April 23, 2014)

Though a report released by the California Environmental Protection Agency shows water in La Cañada Flintridge has significant levels of toxicity, local water officials report that contaminant levels are well below maximum levels allowed by the state.

A chart, showing various types of pollution by census tract, shows the majority of the community’s drinking water had a score of 82.87, compared to 61.47 in a nearby neighborhood in Glendale.

Scoring is based on the presence of 12 carcinogenic and seven noncarcinogenic contaminants, said Sam Delson, deputy director for external and legislative affairs for California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard.

But Delson said those scores are based on public health goals developed by the office and are not mandatory, unlike the actual maximum contaminant levels also set by the state.

For example, the state’s cap on methyl tertiary butyl ether is 13 micrograms per liter, whereas the Crescenta Valley Water District only has 0.1 micrograms per liter, said David Gould, an engineer for the district.

The Crescenta Valley Water District sources its own groundwater, but also blends it with water purchased from the Foothill Municipal Water District in La Cañada Flintridge as part of its filtering process to get rid of things like MTBE and nitrates.

“There are nitrates in the water because of the past use of septic systems in the area up to the 1980s,” Gould said.

Foothill Municipal imports all of its water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Foothill then resells to Mesa Crest Water,the La Cañada Irrigation District as well as Valley Water Co.

Gould said Crescenta Valley’s water doesn’t exceed any of the maximum contaminant levels, as did Tim Flynn, owner of Mesa Crest Water.

“We test our water weekly,” Flynn said.

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Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.

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