Court Orders State Water Board to Withdraw Chrom 6 MCL, Set New One

A Sacramento Superior Court on May 5 ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to withdraw the maximum contaminant level for chromium 6 it adopted in 2014 and set a new one after it conducts a more thorough study of its economic feasibility.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Christopher Krueger wrote in his order that “it does not appear that the (State Water Board) considered either (1) how the various alternatives would affect the economic feasibility of the MCL, particularly for small water systems, or (2) whether these alternatives would actually make the MCL economically feasible.”

The ruling was in response to a legal challenge against the MCL that was brought by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the Solano County Taxpayers Association.

The State Water Board stated on its website that it is “reviewing the order and its range of impacts.”

“It will take some time to prepare a thorough response to the order and more information will be provided as it becomes available,” the State Water Board site reads. “Please check back occasionally for further updates.”

In their challenge to the MCL, petitioners argued that the State Water Board did not conduct a “flawed economic feasibility analysis, but that it failed to conduct any feasibility analysis at all.”

Krueger wrote: “The court, somewhat reluctantly, agrees. The (State Water Board) essentially equates its economic feasibility analysis with its cost-benefit analysis.”

“For the reasons stated above the petition is granted and this case is remanded to the (State Water Board) with orders to withdraw the current MCL and establish a new MCL,” the court order reads.

“When establishing a new MCL, the (State Water Board) must comply with the Legislature's directive to consider the economic feasibility of compliance, paying particular attention to small water systems and their users, and to set the MCL as close as economically feasible to the public health goal of 0.02 ppb,” the ordered continued.