Hard or soft, SCV water in safe to drink


The hard facts are in on the Santa Clarita Valley’s “hard water” and the bottom line is that our drinking water – hard or soft – is clean and safe to drink.

On Wednesday, state officials revealed the results of its Santa Clarita Valley 2017 Water Quality Report.

“As in years past, your tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and State drinking water health standards,” state report writers concluded in the report.

If there’s been any change in the water since the 2016 report-taking period wrapped, the SCV drinking water was found to be a little “softer,” compared to previous mineral-heavy years as a result of above normal amounts of rainfall this past winter.

“The above average rain we enjoyed this year did marginally reduce the ‘hardness’ of water in some areas,” Dirk Marks, water resources manager for the Castaic Lake Water Agency, told The Signal Wednesday.

As SCV residents know who continually find their household glassware consistently “foggy” as opposed to transparent, valley water is rich in mineral content, commonly called “hard water.”

“While the water is clean and safe to drink some groundwater sources are higher in mineral content associated with “hard water,” Marks said.

State officials addressed impacts of unusual amounts of rainfall and of the drought – specifically a mention of groundwater wells drying up – in their annual assessment.

Heavy rainfall

“Due to higher than average rainfall amounts, the five-year drought is officially over in California,” they wrote.

“Surface water reservoirs are at capacity but groundwater basins have not yet fully recovered,” the report noted.

“Even though emergency drought restrictions have been lifted, prohibitions against wasteful practices are still in effect.”

State officials – operating under the official banner of State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water – require all water agencies to publish test findings on water quality — specifically the tap water in local homes.

The bottom line is SCV water is safe to drink, having received passing grades on tests for more than three dozen nasty microscopic water contaminants.

State officials noted in their report that the SCV’s water wholesaler – the Castaic Lake Water Agency – and its four water retailer, Santa Clarita Water Division, Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36,  Newhall County Water District and Valencia Water Company “continuously work to ensure you have a reliable and safe drinking water supply at a reasonable cost.”

“CLWA and the retail water purveyors meet or exceed all federal and state drinking water quality requirement,” Marks said Wednesday.

One particular contaminant of concern to water officials year to year, and noted in their report,  is the presence of perchlorate detected in SCV groundwater at some locations.


Perchlorate usually gets into drinking water as a result of environmental contamination from historic industrial operations such as the operations at Whittaker-Bermite for more than half a century that used, stored, or disposed of perchlorate and its salts.

As a result of all those “operations,” a known perchlorate contaminant plume has been identified in the SCV and several wells have tested positive for perchlorate.

Perchlorate is an inorganic chemical used in the manufacturing of solid rocket propellant, fireworks and explosives. It has been shown to interfere with uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland, and thereby reduce the production of thyroid hormones leading to adverse effects associated with inadequate hormone levels.

In October 2007, state officials set a maximum contaminant threshold level for perchlorate at no more than 6 micrograms of perchlorate for every liter of water.

With regards to cleaning perchlorate-contaminated groundwater, the newly-completed Saugus Aquifer Treatment Plant which was tested last month, is expected to pump and treat water extracted from 14 wells at a rate of 500 gallons a minute beginning next month.

The cleaned water, according to the plan, will be discharged into the Santa Clara River watershed to recharge SCV’s groundwater.

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