Water Quality

California’s water quality regulations are among the strongest in the nation. From stringent limits on contaminants to rigorous requirements for testing and monitoring water quality, California has adopted an array of laws and regulations aimed at protecting public health.

Chromium 6

Hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6, is the subject of significant developments at the state and federal levels. Though there are currently no existing or proposed drinking water standards for chromium 6, the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has proposed a public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion (20 parts per trillion). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and members of Congress have signaled their intent to focus on chromium 6 in drinking water.

Public Health Goals Guidance

ACWA’s 2013 guidance document is now available for use in preparing Public Health Goal (PHG) reports to satisfy requirements of California Health and Safety Code Section 116470(b).

Public water systems serving more than 10,000 service connections must prepare a brief, written report by July 1, 2010, that provides information on the “detection” of any contaminants above the PHGs published by the State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). The report must also list the “detection” of any contaminant above the Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for all other contaminants for which OEHHA has yet to establish a PHG. 

Mandatory Minimum Penalties

ACWA sponsored legislation in 2010 to address high penalties imposed on water agencies for failing to report that they had no wastewater discharge violations.

Constituents of Emerging Concern

Water quality regulations have traditionally focused on pollutants from industry and a small number of naturally occurring contaminants. Recently, a diverse group of relatively unmonitored chemicals such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products and other trace organic chemicals has emerged as a new issue for regulators to address.

The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a Recycled Water Policy in 2009 that attempts to incorporate the most current science on constituents of emerging concern (CECs) into regulatory policies for use by various state agencies. As part of this policy, the Southern California Coastal Water Resources Project has convened a panel of six experts to provide recommendations to the State Board.

Latest News about Water Quality

Gov. Jerry Brown on July 14 announced several reappointments to the California Water Commission as well as the new appointment of Armando... read»
Cindy Forbes, a veteran of the California Department of Public Health’s former Drinking Water Program, was named July 1 as... read»
Chromium-6 Drinking Water Standard Set to Become Effective July 1
The nation’s first drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium – or chromium-6 – is set to become effective in... read»
CDPH Releases Final Chromium-6 Regulation Package
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released the final proposed regulation package for chromium-6, setting the stage... read»
Water Boards Hold Workshops on Drinking Water Discharge Permits
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) will hold a workshop May 12 to provide information to stakeholders on the development... read»

Latest State Legislation Updates

ACWA is sponsoring legislation to address high penalties imposed on water agencies for failing to report that they had no wastewater... read more»

Latest Regulatory Updates

ACWA has released its 2013 Suggested Guidelines for use by public water systems in preparing Public Health Goal (PHG) reports to... read more»
ACWA submitted a comment letter Feb. 19 to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on proposed draft changes to a statewide... read more»
ACWA has submitted the attached letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding draft Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)... read more»
ACWA submitted comments in cooperation with WateReuse Association and the California Association of Sanitation Agencies. read more»
ACWA has sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stating its support of electronic delivery of Consumer Confidence... read more»

Other articles

This report presents an evaluation of arsenic occurrence in California water sources to illustrate how the U.S. Environmental Protection... read more»
California water agencies deliver some of the safest drinking water in the world. From stringent limits on contaminants to rigorous... read more»

Upcoming Water Quality Events

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:00am - 11:30am
Interested member agencies are invited to participate in a webinar regarding the latest developments related to water quality standards...
Tue, 09/09/2014 - 9:00am - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 5:00pm
The International Water Association is holding a specialists’ conference for water basin science and management Sept. 9 to 12 in San...