By: Paul Eakins, Public Affairs Information Officer, City of Santa Ana, City Manager’s Office
I would like to clarify and correct some of the information in your New Santa Ana article, “Who is protecting the people in Santa Ana from toxins in our water and soil?” that was published on November 13, 2020.
First, the City of Santa Ana prioritizes the health and safety of its residents and as part of that effort, tests and regulates all water delivered to customers. Results of that monitoring for 120 contaminants, including PFAS and lead, are reported each year in the City’s Water Quality Report, which is also referred to as the Consumer Confidence Report or CCR. The full report can be found here.
Drinking water from the City of Santa Ana meets or exceeds all state and federal regulations. By law, we cannot deliver water that does not meet these quality standards.
In regard to PFAS, on page 11 of the CCR we fully disclose that testing of the City of Santa Ana’s Groundwater Well 38 showed detectable results above the Notification Level, but below the Response Level. We voluntarily stopped serving water from Well 38 in September of 2018, right after we received the results. This well has remained out of service since then. The City of Santa Ana is continuing to collaborate with the Orange County Water District (OCWD) on ongoing water monitoring and new treatment methods for PFAS. OCWD manages the groundwater basin where our wells are located.
Please be advised that none of the water supplied to our City’s residents comes directly from the Santa Ana River, as was mentioned in your article. Our water comes from two different sources: groundwater, which makes up 77% of our supply, and imported water purchased from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which makes up the remaining 23%. All of the groundwater supplied to our residents comes from our City-owned wells, none of which are operated by the OCWD. However, where OCWD comes in – is in the management and monitoring of the three of Southern California’s greatest water supplies: the Santa Ana River, the Orange County Groundwater Basin and the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS). The City of Santa Ana draws water from the Orange County Groundwater Basin with our City-owned wells that are drilled up to 1,000 feet into the ground. The soil and the natural bedrock of the Basin additionally filter the water and provide all of us with a high-quality, great-tasting source that is delivered to residents taps. More information can be found at the following web link:
The City of Santa Ana’s Water Resources Division only oversees water quality sampling and does not deal with existing issues of lead in paint (found in older homes) or soil contamination. These matters are handled by the OC Health Care Agency, under the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Please, visit Orange County’s website to learn more:
However, when it comes to water, page 9 of the 2019 CCR talks about possible presence of lead in water within the piping of some older homes. These homes have been identified and defined as high-risk single-family homes or buildings. Our Division provides comprehensive, free water sampling to all Santa Ana residents who live in these dwellings. Since the inception of the Lead and Copper Rule by the EPA in 1991, the City of Santa Ana’s sampling results have not exceeded any Action Levels (AL) in regard to Lead and Copper in these high-risk single-family homes. The EPA’s Action Level for Lead is 15 parts per billion (ppb) and for Copper it is 1.3 parts per million (ppm). Please refer to the EPA’s website concerning the Lead and Copper Rule:
The City is committed to providing safe, clean and reliable water to homes and businesses. We are proud of the quality of our water, which has won numerous top-place awards for the world’s best tasting and highest quality tap water in the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office should you need further information, or visit our water quality web page at www.santaanaccr.org.