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Report: More than Half of Californians Get Contaminated Drinking Water

Feb 7, 2013

More than half of California's population relies on a contaminated drinking water supply – though most communities blend or treat their water to make it safe.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on that finding in a new state report out this week.

The report by the State Water Resources Control Board was ordered by the state Legislature.  It says from 2002 to 2010, 680 out of 3,000 community water systems in the state relied on one or more contaminated groundwater wells.  Those contaminated wells served 21 million people.

Arsenic was the most detected naturally-occurring contaminant.  Nitrate was the most detected human-caused contaminant.  Chemical fertilizers and livestock manure are the main source of nitrate contamination in groundwater.

The report stresses that most of the communities treat the water, so what residents get is safe.