ACWA Suggested Guidelines for 2019 Triennial Reporting of Public Health Goal Exceedance in Drinking Water

  • Apr 17, 2019
  • Policy Documents

Agency: Public Water Systems and State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water

Subject: Suggested Guidelines for Preparation of Required Reports on PUBLIC HEALTH GOALS (PHGs) to satisfy requirements of California Health and Safety Code Section 116470(b)

Guidelines excerpt: 

Public water systems serving more than 10,000 service connections must prepare a brief, written report in plain language by July 1, 2019 that gives information on the “detection” of any contaminants above the Public Health Goals (PHGs) published by the state’s 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 United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) for all other contaminants until such time as OEHHA has published PHGs for those contaminants.

It is emphasized that the report only needs to provide information on the number of
contaminants that a water system has found at a level exceeding a PHG or a MCLG.

The purpose of the legislation requiring these reports was to provide consumers with
information on levels of contaminants even below the enforceable mandatory
Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) so they would be aware of whatever risks might
be posed by the presence of these contaminants at levels below the MCLs. Additionally,
each water system must provide an estimate of the cost to reduce the contaminant(s)
to the PHG (or MCLG if there is no PHG) regardless of how minimal the risk might be.

The following should be considered when preparing the mandated reports:

1. The U.S. EPA and the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)
Division of Drinking Water (DDW) establish MCLs at very conservative levels to
provide protection to consumers against all but very low to negligible risk. In
other words, MCLs are the regulatory definition of what is “safe.” Adopted MCLs
are still the criteria for being in compliance, not those proposed or possible in
the future, and certainly not MCLGs or PHGs.

Download Guidelines document

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