California Superior Court Judge Rules that Chromium-6 Standard Must Be Reevaluated
The California Department of Public Health has been ordered to consider the economic feasibility of Chromium-6 requirements on water districts and their users.
Banning, CA – Banning officials are hopeful that a recent court decision may help save the City and its residents from significant water rate increases related to Chromium-6 treatment.
On May 5, 2017, California Superior Court Judge Christopher Krueger ordered that the Department of Public Health must withdraw its current Maximum Contaminant Load (MCL) for Chromium-6 which had been set at 10 parts per billion (ppb). In his ruling, Judge Krueger noted that the Department must establish a new MCL that complies with the “Legislature’s directive to consider the economic feasibility of compliance.”
“This decision is a major victory for water districts like Banning,” said City Manager Michael Rock. “The amount of studies and infrastructure needed to meet the State’s current requirement would cost water districts millions of dollars and those costs would ultimately be passed on to customers in water rate increases. The Superior Court’s decision will hopefully allow the City to meet public health standards without burdening our residents.”
The City has nine wells that currently test above the 10 ppb standard. The highest detecting well averages 19 ppb and is no longer being used for potable (drinking) water. The next highest detecting well averages 16 ppb. One part per billion is typically described as a drop in an Olympic-size swimming pool. The Federal MCL is currently set at 100 ppb.
“The funding needed to meet the 10 ppb standard would have significantly impacted the City’s ability to implement crucial water projects,” said Public Works Director Art Vela. “With this recent court order, we may have an opportunity to move forward with other priorities including infrastructure upgrades and smart meter implementation.”
The City continues to make water quality a top priority and its water continues to meet all Federal and State drinking water standards. The City’s Consumer Confidence Report, an annual report that details the City’s water quality and testing processes, is available on the City’s web site or by request at City Hall.