The state has released new data on California’s drinking water--and they reveal almost 300 public water systems are out of compliance with state standards.
The data and an interactive map are part of the state water board’s new Human Right to Water Portal. They reveal 292 non-compliant water systems across the state. Violations include unsafe levels of arsenic, nitrates, and other contaminants, as well as non-compliant treatment techniques.
"When you think about safe and affordable drinking water, you might think about Flint, for example, but what most Californians are not aware of is that right here in our own state, over a million Californians are exposed to unsafe drinking water each year," says Jonathan Nelson, policy director of the non-profit Community Water Center.
The San Joaquin Valley contains dozens of non-compliant water systems, which stretch from Humboldt County to the Mexican border. Nelson says determining the extent of the problem is the first step of many.
"We can then start moving forward with: What do we do?" he says. "What is the solution or set of solutions, to ensure that those impacted with unsafe and unaffordable drinking water ultimately do have safe and affordable drinking water?"
The data do not include private wells and some extremely small water systems, and exclude some contaminants like perchlorate.