UPDATE: (July 31, 2017) - Cal Water and the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) have canceled the boil water advisory for its customers residing in the area bordered by Drake Street on the north, Spruce Street on the east, 21st Street on the south, and Oak Street on the west. The advisory was canceled after multiple rounds of water quality tests by two independent laboratories confirmed that there was no presence of E.coli in the water system serving these customers.
A Boil Water Advisory has been issued for parts of Kern County. The California Water Service issued the following statement:
California Water Service and the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water advise customers residing in the area bordered by Drake Street on the north, Spruce Street on the east, 21st Street on the south, and Oak Street on the west to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking until further notice. A water sample tested positive for E. coli after a main repair was made late on Thursday, July 27. Cal Water is currently conducting additional water quality testing and is issuing this advisory out of an abundance of caution.
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Until further notice, you should boil water rapidly for at least one minute or use bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and preparing food. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
You should also discard ice cubes made from tap water or your refrigerator’s water line. If you have pets and are unsure about providing water to them during this advisory, please consult your veterinarian. Tap water is safe for showering, bathing, and other household uses.
E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. It is important to note that these symptoms are not always caused by organisms in drinking water. In any case, if you experience the symptoms and they persist, you may wish to seek medical advice.
E. coli may pose a special risk to infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of microbial infection are available from U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
We are currently conducting additional water quality testing. We will inform you when you no longer need to boil your water. We expect to receive test results by Tuesday, August 1.
If you choose to purchase and use bottled water during this advisory, you may save your receipts for reimbursement by Cal Water. For reimbursement, please bring your receipts to our office, located at 3725 South H Street, Bakersfield, CA 93304, or mail them to the same address to the attention of Kim Mygatt. You can also pick up free bottled water at our station located at 2841 Elm St.
We apologize for the inconvenience. Protecting your health and safety is our highest priority. For more information, call Cal Water’s Customer Center at (661) 837-7200.
We will be performing scheduled maintenance on Saturday, August 5, from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. PDT. During this period, you will not be able to log into your account or make payments by phone or through the “Pay Your Bill” link (for payments made without logging into your account). We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new database that indicates Cal Water exceeds “health guidelines” in our customers’ service areas. We want to clarify the information in this database. Our water meets all of the standards set to protect customers’ health and safety by federal and state public health experts. These standards are called “maximum contaminant levels (MCLs).”
The data provided by EWG is based on public health goals (PHG), not MCLs. PHGs are not regulatory standards, but rather the level of a constituent below which there is no known concern to health over a lifetime of exposure. These goals are set without regard to cost or available detection and treatment technologies. In some cases, the technology may not even exist to treat water to the PHG.
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which is composed of toxicologists, epidemiologists, physicians, biostatisticians, and research scientists, confirms that: “As long as drinking water complies with all MCLs, it is considered safe to drink, even if some contaminants exceed PHG levels,” and “A PHG is NOT a boundary line between a ‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’ level of a contaminant.”
Additionally, the data in the EWG database includes raw, untreated source water, not just water that has been treated and is being delivered to customers. It also double-counts certain constituents.
Protecting our customers’ health and safety is our highest priority. We encourage our customers to review the annual Consumer Confidence Report for their water system, which includes every constituent detected in the water delivered to them.