‘Weird’ and ‘disgusting’ as California electric utility offers to remove water from homes
California’s electric utility is proposing to sell customers their water after an outcry from neighbors who say they have been exposed to toxic levels of lead.
In a memo to customers on Monday, California’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said it will require utility customers to notify the company when their taps begin to taste like tap water, and it will provide water filters for those who need them.
The commission also said it would increase inspections at water treatment plants and other facilities to ensure that the water is safe for use.
The move comes after the utility said in a press release last month that it will be offering customers a 30-day free water sample test for lead levels that are more than two times the federal limit of 10 micrograms per liter, or 10 microg/dL.
“We are very concerned that the level of lead in water in some of our residential customers may be unsafe for children and the elderly,” PUC Chairman Anthony Carnevale said in the release.
“The PUC has a responsibility to ensure our customers are protected and are not exposed to dangerous levels of this toxic chemical.
The commission will continue to investigate the matter and will take appropriate action.”
California Governor Jerry Brown said last month he is considering taking action, but he declined to provide specifics about the scope of his action.
“It is unacceptable for any community to be exposed to this level of contamination in water,” Brown said at the time.
“It’s unacceptable for our children and our elderly to be at risk.”
In an email to AP, the PUC said it is aware of the concerns and has launched an investigation to determine the cause.
“At this time, the commission has not identified a specific water quality concern and is notifying the affected community that there is no lead or other chemical in the water, said PUC spokesperson Scott Pendergast in a statement.”PUC is taking action as a matter of state law to address this matter, including removing water that may be contaminated with lead and other hazardous substances, and replacing it with safe water, when it becomes available,” Pendergyast said.
The Puc said the proposed price for water samples would be $3.25 per liter and the water would be free for a 30 day trial period.
The agency also announced it would introduce a public health advisory on Wednesday to help customers understand how their water may be tainted with lead.”
While we cannot yet provide specific advice on how to avoid lead, we will also be updating our community water advisory in the coming weeks to help people understand how the risk of lead exposure is elevated in their water supply,” PPU said.