Water Quality FAQs

Water Quality

Should residents be concerned about water quality?

CLWA is committed to maintaining high quality water for our customers.  In partnership with the local water retailers, we continue to meet or exceed water standards set by the California Department of Public Health and other regulatory agencies.

In addition, CLWA has an ongoing program of water supply testing and protection.  Security measures to protect the Santa Clarita Valley’s water supply are in place at all facilities.

Each year we send out a water quality report to every household in the valley, which shows residents how water meets or exceeds standards by providing the results of our frequent testing and protection standards.

My water is hard. Does that mean it is unhealthy?

Water naturally contains dissolved minerals and higher mineral levels in water cause hard water.  One sign of hard water—spots on the dishes—is purely aesthetic.  Valley water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards.

Is our hard water a result of contaminants in our drinking water?

The hard water experienced by many residents is due to minerals in our groundwater supply and are not a result of drinking water contaminants.  Hardness is caused by calcium and magnesium, which occur naturally in all waters.  Under certain conditions the calcium and magnesium will deposit hard surfaces.  While these do not pose any threat to the quality of your drinking water from a health perspective, hard water can create aesthetic problems such as spots on glass and porcelain.

Why do some residents complain of abnormal taste and odor in their water?

Abnormal taste and odor in local tap water is occasionally caused by two sources, chemicals released by bacteria growth in unused pipes and algae growth in Castaic Lake. When a pipe remains unused for an extended period of time, bacteria can grow and release foul “rotten egg” odor.

Additionally, occasionally you might experience a “swampy-musty” odor due to summer algae growth in Castaic Lake.  Efforts are made to prevent these growths from entering the treatment plants.  CLWA now uses ozone to treat the lake water, which usually destroys these by-products of algal growth.  Even when not destroyed, they are not harmful.

Is perchlorate still an issue of concern in the valley?

Not only are CLWA and the water retailers expertly qualified to address the contamination of the groundwater with perchlorate, our collaborative efforts have recently resulted in the completion of a treatment facility to clean up perchlorate contamination and prevent future spreading of the chemical.  These facilities, along with continuous testing of the groundwater and monitoring by CLWA and the retailers ensure that drinking water meets or exceeds all state and federal standards.

In August 2010, Valencia Water Company detected perchlorate in Well 201 near City Hall.  Although the perchlorate levels were within safe drinking water standards at the time, the company immediately took the well out of service and notified the State Department of Public Health.  Valencia Water Company continued to monitor the inactive well on a monthly basis.  The most recent sample confirmed that perchlorate is still present and that wellhead treatment or a replacement well is needed as outlined by the settlement agreement with Whittaker Bermite.  Valencia Water Company has notified the Whittaker Bermite property owners that it will seek remediation funds to clean up the closed well.

CLWA and retailers are undertaking additional analysis to determine the significance of perchlorate at Well 201 and insure that the Whittaker Bermite property owners remediate the impacts.

Does CLWA use chloramines to treat the valley’s water? Is it dangerous?

The disinfection treatment for the valley’s water was changed from chlorine to chloramines in 2005.  Chloramines are used throughout the world and are a more effective way of disinfecting our water, in particular the imported water.  This change ensures that higher water quality standards set by the U.S. EPA are met.

Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia and are one of several U.S. EPA approved disinfectants used to remove disease-causing microorganisms in water.  Chloramines last longer than chlorine in water and more effectively remove pathogens including bacteria and viruses.

Chloramines have been safely used in the United States since the early 1900s, and are commonly used in southern California, across the nation, and worldwide.  CLWA continues to use chloramines and is confident in its performance as an effective disinfectant.

As with chlorine, chloramines must be removed or neutralized for aquatic animals and kidney dialysis patients.

Is CLWA responsible for chloride levels?

The 2011 Santa Clarita Valley Water Quality Report shows that the amount of chloride found in imported water is comparable to, and in many cases lower than, the concentrations found in local groundwater.  The highest reported values for chlorides in the groundwater sources generally exceed the highest chloride values for imported water.

Local groundwater and imported water meet by a significant margin the water quality standards for chloride proposed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Chloride levels in wastewater are the responsibility of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District, and they are working on a plan to ensure their discharges to the river help to meet the new Total Maximum Daily Load standards for the Santa Clara River.

Issues tied to salinity of wastewater are handled by the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District.  Any questions regarding that matter should be directed to a Sanitation District representative.  CLWA is cooperating with the Sanitation District to investigate lower cost options.  Specifically, CLWA is assisting the Sanitation District by conducting a study of projected chloride levels in the SWP supply.