SACRAMENTO, August 25, 2015 –The California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) and the Solano County Taxpayers Association (SCTA) continue to pursue a lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court over a new state drinking water standard that is both baseless and extremely costly for taxpayers.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) set a new state drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium at 10 parts per billion in early May 2014. The new standard is substantially lower than what the latest research shows is needed to protect public health. The lawsuit, filed in May 2014, and recently set for hearing on the merits, asks the court to order the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), which took over management of the drinking water program from DPH, to adopt a drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium that is based on the best available research, considers national standards, and takes into account the reasonably expected economic impacts of this rule.
“As if the current challenges we’re facing with the water supply in California aren’t bad enough,” says SCTA’s Ourania Riddle, “along comes this unnecessary regulation, which will place steep cost burdens on taxpayers without a benefit to public health.” Hexavalent chromium occurs naturally in water supplies across the state at levels that often exceed California’s new drinking water standard. Efforts to eliminate this naturally occurring hexavalent chromium could potentially cost water utilities millions of dollars a year, which experts say will most likely be passed on to California consumers. In its August 2013 analysis of the proposed new standard, DPH reported that in smaller water districts, each household could pay close to $6,000 more per year on their water bills to meet the new standard. In some communities the cost could climb even higher than that.
“Setting an unrealistically low water standard comes at a substantial cost to homes and businesses,” says Dorothy Rothrock, with CMTA. “It’s not practical and doesn’t provide additional health benefits beyond current standards for people across the state. It merely saddles consumers and business owners with a big financial burden.”
A recent peer-reviewed and published study, funded by the American Chemistry Council in Washington, DC, indicates that the former state standard for “total” chromium of 50 parts per billion was well below the level that is necessary to protect public health. This would suggest that California’s new standard for hexavalent chromium of 10 parts per billion is unnecessary and that it provides no additional health benefits beyond those provided by the former standard for total chromium.
Worst of all, say leaders at CMTA and SCTA, the new water bills come as the state’s citizens suffer through a third and fourth year of drought and water rationing and at a time when the state faces important decisions on where to spend its limited resources. Many people also fear that a very low standard could limit groundwater use for drinking water, create added demand for surface water use, and exacerbate the water shortage problem in the state.
The hearing on the merits of the lawsuit is scheduled for April 2016.
Media Contacts: Manufacturers — CMTA – Gino DiCaro 916-498-3347 firstname.lastname@example.org
Taxpayers – SCTA – Ourania Riddle 707-678-9468 email@example.com