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Friday, November 14, 2008

Is West Sacramento Water Unsafe to Drink?

During the Vanguard's interview with Rosalind Peterson from the Agriculture Defense Coalition on another topic, the Vanguard learned of a potential health risk for West Sacramento residents.

While the Vanguard in general covers Davis and Yolo County, this was concerning enough that we believe it should be reported.

The Agriculture Defense Coalition (ADC) obtained information regarding water quality in the City of West Sacramento from the California State Department of Health, Drinking Water Division.

They describe themselves as "stunned by the results of this inquiry." Indeed, West Sacramento's own "Consumer Confidence Report warns that immune-compromised persons "should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers."

According to the report from the ADC:
"The City of West Sacramento receives its water from one of the most polluted sources in the State of California. The staggering number of positive readings for agriculture herbicides, pesticides, industrial waste products, uranium, PCBs, etc., is beyond comprehension. No water treatment plant can address the synergistic impacts of the combinations of these chemicals nor hope to remove all of them from your drinking water sources."
As concerning as this information may be, the other factor that may prove unsettling is that the 2008 report is not the most current information but rather represents the results of 2007 water tests. This means that the public becomes aware of contaminants in the drinking water almost one year after the testing results become known to the water district.

As the ADC says:
"This does not enable the public to protect themselves from any current or ongoing adverse water test results in real time. It means that any exposure to chemicals is not being reported to hospitals, doctors, the press or the public in real time so that they can protect themselves or their children."
The other concern is that while the city of West Sacramento does eventually report these results they do not specify how they handle contaminated water after detection nor is it known if the city has the means to release contaminated water before it ends up the in the consumer's tap.

All of this made the Vanguard wonder what Davis' drinking water looks like. We have obtained the test results for Davis over the last four or five years and will examine them to see there is anything of concern.

---David M. Greenwald reporting