The problem with drinking water in the San Fernando Valley

By Tamar Mlikyan
October 13

The San Fernando Valley basin is a significant source of drinking water for the Los Angeles district metropolitan region. It incorporates Glendale, Burbank, San Fernando, and La-Canada. The drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants like leads, Arsenic and CR+6.


The Regional Board has been accused by the USEPA United States Environmental Protection Agency of the undertaking of finding the source of hexavalent chromium pollution in the soil and groundwater. If dischargers do not coordinate, the Regional Board, as well as USEPA, may fall back on taking requirement activities to realize satisfactory site portrayal. The Regional Board has been granted an award from USEPA to address this undertaking during the current financial year.

The Chromium S1 water problem began in 1998 when the Los Angeles River Area ULARA was polluted vigorously with Chromium. In any case, the local board discovered that the soil and groundwater were contaminated with Hexavalent Chromium. The Chromium compounds have no taste or smell, Trivalent Chromium Cr+3 is significant for humanity as opposed to Cr+6, it is susceptible to mixing with groundwater and is exceptionally harmful to live beings and plants.  According to the Clean Water Action report 2019, 13 Million Californians’ have been impacted by CR+6. The CR+6 is harmful to human bodies and it can cause so many health problems such as gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, ulcers, and kidney and liver. The Cr+6 is Hexavalent chromium is a heavy metal used in producing pigments, leather tanning, electroplating, metal processing, wood preservation, and in alloys such as stainless steel. The water source has been contaminated by the leaks and discharges from industrial facilities and hazardous waste sites (California, clean water action).

In 1980, the California Department of Health Services DHS, which is responsible for assuring drinking water quality, discovered organic chemical contamination in the groundwater of the San Gabriel Valley. They in-turn requested all major groundwater users to conduct tests, the test result was positive. there were certain industrial chemicals solvents in the groundwater beneath large areas of the San Fernando Valley. The defilement in the soil has been identified in some shallow and profound dividers from the profundities extending from 31 feet to as profound as 580ft below ground surface. In 1999 GWP discovered Cr+6 raised in the drinking water by 97ug/L, but by March 2000, the rate reached 1000 ug/L. In this point were The United States Environmental Protection Agency USEPA started to act and ask all water supply management agencies to work together to solve this issue. The local boards’ chromium examination found 210 CR clients from the database involved 4,040 zones like Los Angeles, Arcadia, San Marino, Compton, Redondo Beach, Pomona, Long Beach, Hawthorne, and South Gate. A portion of these zones has been cleaned -up under the states’ cost recovery program. 


As a solution production wells were taken out of service. The water agencies in the SFV territory intently checked the drinking water. After all the exertion expended from the assigned offices, the water met all government and state prerequisites determined by DHS Department of Health services. The main LA water drinking is obtained from Metropolitan water region MWD in south LA. 

The expense of water treatment was assessed to be $180 million over the year, processing imported water at 9.000 gallons per minute. 

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has gone into a helpful concurrence with USEPA to lead site evaluations, helping with the responsible parties in PRPs, surveying groundwater observing reports, coordinating cleanup, and giving authorization orders. The purpose is to guarantee that progress keeps on being made inside the six Superfund Operable Units in the San Fernando Valley.

The General Manager for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Jefferey Kightlinger stated in the annual drinking water quality report that ” the quality of Metropolitan’s drinking-water supply remained unaffected” (Kightlinger) insuring that the water is safe.

From our reading “Old Bottle New Wine,” ECUADOR – From 1964 to 1990, Texaco and Mossville, Louisiana communities have been contaminated by the leaks and discharges from industrial facilities and hazardous waste sites dumped large quantities of toxic byproducts into the local rivers or mixed with soil or polluted the groundwater. As a result, the pollution of water created mass health issues. It is reported that their operations resulted in the deforestation of more than two million acres of rain forest, the displacement of indigenous communities, and extensive water pollution that created a regional health crisis. Members of indigenous tribes have unusually high rates of cancer, skin rashes, and respiratory ailments. From this point of view, we can relate that the manufacturers who work in producing chemicals were interested in their own profit instead of people’s well-being. “The mobility of corporations has made it possible for them to seek the greatest profit, the least government and environmental regulations, and the best tax incentives, anywhere in the world”. These circumstances referred to environmental racism. Environmental racism can be defined as racial discrimination in environmental policy making and the enforcement of regulations and laws; the deliberate targeting of people of colored communities for toxic and hazardous waste facilities (Robinson).  

Works cited

California, clean water action. “Facts About Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium 6).” Facts About Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium 6), 2019.

Kightlinger, Jeffrey. “A Letter from the General Manager. Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 2019.

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, T. L. A. R. B. (2018, May 3). Chromium Contamination in the San Fernando Valley: Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Retrieved from .gov/losangeles/water_ issues/programs/remediation/chromium/chromium_s1.html.

Problems With Los Angeles Drinking Water: Lead, Arsenic, Chromium 6, DBPs. YouTube video(2018).

Robinson, D. M. (2000, Jun 30). Environmental racism: Old wine in a new bottle. Women in Action, , 75. Retrieved from url= docview/233382935?accountid=10352

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