The recent DWP public relations stunt to drop 400,000 black plastic balls on a reservoir in Silver Lake led me to take a closer look at the utility’s 2006 annual water quality report which claimed “all’ water everyone in L.A. drank that year met “all” state and federal health safety standards.
But hidden in plain sight in the fine print in language that obscured the truth was the fact that much of the water contained contaminants above those standards. The DWP, following inadequate environmental laws, claimed the opposite by taking an average of all its water tests — not specifying how long and in what areas people got tainted water that far exceeded the average for the year.
Well the 2007 DWP water quality report came out this week and probably showed up in your mail in the last day or two.
Again, DWP General Manager David Nahai — the conservationist whose personal use of water far exceeds the average L.A. residents — again hides the truth behind a lump sum annual average.
“Last year, all 200 billion gallons of water supplied to the 4 million residents of Los Angeles met or surpassed all health-based drinking water standards,” Nahai wrote.
Again, the DWP acknowledges that chlorine used to disinfect water sometimes results in creation of carcinogens that studies suggest could be harmful to health, especially to pregnant women and unborn fetuses. The department continues to promise to use chloramines instead of chlorine soon, something that has been an issue for years.
In the tables we find that the disinfection process in 2007 led to levels of trihalomethanes (TTHM) that average 68 units, which is slightly below the standard of 80. However, the range was 18 to 132 units, meaning a lot of water exceeded the standard.
The same was true for haleoacetic acids, another by product of disinfection, which averaged 42 units compared to a standard of 60. However, the range was 7 to 173 units.
Not to worry though, if you want to take DWP’s word for it