Korenthal For Water Board

Taking CLWA To Task Over Chloride & Water Quality

June 27, 2010

Since officially launching my campaign to serve the CLWA, I have had the opportunity to speak directly with ratepayers in the valley about the water they receive.

Without question, the most important issue on everyone’s mind is water quality. Quite simply, they don’t like it. Everyone I have spoken with has commented about the bad taste and hardness of the water in Santa Clarita. For almost three decades, I’ve lived here and for that entire period, I cannot remember a single time when people felt like our water was of good quality. In fact, many believe the problems are getting worse. What’s more, water softening devices though necessary, are either illegal or too expensive for most families.

The hardness issue plays to the uncomfortable feeling one gets after bathing in the water, the chalky stains on dishes, the bleaching out of color clothing and the damage that it does to our pipes and fittings.

Ratepayer concern is high and their confidence in the Agency is low. Some believe that this is a result of the fact that CLWA has sacrificed quality in an attempt to keep costs down. But it appears that the result of this terrible decision is that Santa Clarita customers are receiving water with higher than allowable chloride levels.

The Los Angeles County Sanitation District has been fighting the state bureaucracy for more than a decade to prevent the state from saddling Santa Clarita residents with the cost of building a God Knows How Expensive® reverse osmosis treatment plant to remove the chloride levels that giving up our water softeners did not take care of. Many ratepayers have shared with me their frustration with a plan that brings sewage water to near-tertiary levels AFTER it is flushed down our gutters, toilets and drains! If we are going to use reverse osmosis on our water, we should do it before it is served to the customers.

In my discussions with ratepayers in the valley I have posed the following question: “would you pay more for water if the water that came to your home tasted reasonably good, was comfortable to bathe in, did not damage your clothing or dishes and met strict state guidelines for chloride levels? Most said yes.

In my work as the executive director for the Associated Builders & Contractors of California, I have been able to query water scientists and the people who build water processing facilities about the feasibility of addressing customers concerns about water quality. They have all told me that the technology to fix our problems is available, but it is expensive. Furthermore, a new conveyance system around or under the Delta would have to be deployed in order to improve water quality in all areas.

It’s time to level with ratepayers. We need to improve water quality and invest wisely in the system. So I am calling on the CLWA Board to direct staff to immediately begin researching technological and treatment alternatives to address these problems.

Santa Clarita water today tastes bad, damages clothing and dishes, is high in chlorides that allegedly damage crops and may even be harmful to our health. Ratepayers deserve better. Thank you.

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