Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content

HEALTH CONSULTATION

Community Follow-up Regarding Lead, Nitrate, Mercury and Chromium Levels in Water from Private Domestic Wells near the Pacific Gas and Electric Facility in Hinkley, California

PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC FACILITY
HINKLEY, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA


SUMMARY

In August 2001, the Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB) of the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) was asked by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Lahontan RWQCB) to review and provide a public health interpretation of sampling results for 25 private domestic wells in Hinkley, California. These wells are located around the area of groundwater that has been contaminated with chromium by the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) gas compressor station. According to Lahontan RWQCB, one of the families whose home is served by one of these wells spoke only Spanish, had a child, and did not have a telephone. EHIB's correspondence with this family (see Appendices A-D) and follow-up activities are the basis of this health consultation. EHIB has a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and this health consultation is being forwarded to ATSDR for their concurrence.


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

In December 2000, EHIB completed a public health assessment of exposures from the PG&E gas compressor station, in which EHIB recommended that the Lahontan RWQCB sample private domestic wells located around the chromium-contaminated groundwater for total chromium and hexavalent chromium. In August 2001, the Lahontan RWQCB sampled 25 private domestic wells and had the water analyzed for total and hexavalent chromium. In order to improve their understanding of the quality of the groundwater, the Lahontan RWQCB also had the water analyzed for other metals and minerals that are regulated in public drinking water systems. The wells were not tested for coliform. EHIB reviewed the results of these tests and compared the levels of contaminants to drinking water standards. The levels of total and hexavalent chromium did not exceed the drinking water standard for total chromium; however, one well had levels of nitrate, lead and mercury that were above the drinking water standard. Moreover, according to Lahontan RWQCB, one of the families whose residence was served by this well had a child, only spoke Spanish and did not have a telephone.


DISCUSSION

EHIB was particularly concerned about the health impacts of water consumption by the child living at this residence. The following is a summary of EHIB's efforts to rapidly inform the family of the water test results and arrange for follow-up through the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health (for more detail refer to Appendices A-D).

Initial Notice of Water Quality

Since the family was not reachable by telephone, EHIB requested that Lahontan RWQCB hand-deliver a notice to the residence (Appendices A and B). This letter briefly explained that the water was not safe to consume and requested that the family contact EHIB so that EHIB could provide them with more information. The letter was written in English and Spanish.

Water Test Results

After the initial notice, EHIB sent a follow-up letter to the family which provided detailed information about the water test results and possible health implications. The letter was written in both English and Spanish (see Appendices C and D).

Total and Hexavalent Chromium

The levels of total and hexavalent chromium in the well were 6 micrograms per liter (µg/L) and 0.53 µg/L, respectively. These levels are below 50 µg/L, the drinking water standard for total chromium (there is no drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium). The letter EHIB sent to the family provided the results of the total and hexavalent chromium analyses and explained that no health effects were expected to result from the levels measured in their water. EHIB included a copy of a the laboratory results for the chromium tests as well as a fact sheet on "Chromium in Drinking Water" that was developed jointly by the CDHS Division of Drinking Water and Environmental Management and the California Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (see Appendix E).

Nitrate

The level of nitrate in the well (62 milligrams per liter (mg/L)) was above the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L. EHIB's letter described the susceptibility of pregnant women and formula-fed infants to nitrate. EHIB also provided a fact sheet on "Health Concerns Related to Nitrate and Nitrite in Private Well Water" (see Appendix F). Though the source of the nitrate contamination is currently unknown, the family was informed of typical sources of nitrate contamination, namely agricultural and dairy farms.

Lead

The well also had elevated levels of lead (0.089 mg/L, versus the drinking water standard of 0.010 mg/L). EHIB's letter described the susceptibility of children to lead poisoning, provided contact information for childhood blood lead tests, and included two Spanish and English information brochures on childhood lead poisoning (see Appendices G-J). Though the source of the lead contamination is currently unknown, EHIB provided information on possible sources of lead contamination.

Mercury

The level of mercury in the well was 0.0029 mg/L, which is higher than the drinking water standard (0.002 mg/L). Discussions of health effects of mercury and possible sources of mercury contamination were included in the letter. The definite source of the mercury contamination is currently unknown.

Follow Up Testing

During the week of September 24, 2001, the Lahontan RWQCB sampled the well for confirmation testing. The Lahontan RWQCB provided the family with the results of these tests.

Follow-Up Through San Bernardino County Department of Public Health

EHIB contacted the San Bernardino County Health Officer to inform them of the private well testing results and to request assistance with in-person follow-up. The San Bernardino County Health Officer dispatched a public health nurse and Spanish translator to the residence. The nurse confirmed that the family had received and understood the letters from EHIB; and provided education and outreach on blood lead testing.


CONCLUSIONS

The levels of total and hexavalent chromium measured in the private domestic well are below the drinking water standard for total chromium and do not pose a health risk. The level of nitrate, lead and mercury are above the drinking water standard, and therefore consumption of the water may pose a health hazard, particularly to children (due to lead contamination) and pregnant women and formula-fed infants under the age of 6 months (due to nitrate contamination).


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for this site contain a description of actions taken, to be taken, or under consideration by ATSDR and EHIB at and near the site. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this health consultation not only identifies public health hazards, but also provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting form exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. EHIB and ATSDR will follow-up on this plan to ensure that actions are carried out.

Actions Completed:

  1. EHIB informed Spanish-speaking residents of the results and health implications (letter written in Spanish and English) of the private domestic well testing performed by Lahontan RWQCB. (All written correspondence with the resident regarding the testing of their well was in Spanish and English.)


  2. EHIB recommended that water from the well not be used for drinking or cooking, due to elevated levels of nitrate, lead and mercury.


  3. EHIB informed the residents that store-bought water filters are not certified to meet drinking water standards.


  4. EHIB informed the residents that private wells are not regulated or tested by the state and that the owners of these wells are responsible for making sure that the water is safe to consume.


  5. EHIB informed the residents that their water was not tested for coliform, one of the more common water contaminants.


  6. EHIB arranged a follow-up visit by the San Bernardino County public health nurse with a Spanish translator.

Recommendation:

  1. EHIB recommended that private well owners test their wells on a regular basis for chemicals, metals, minerals and bacteria that may be present in underground water at levels injurious to health.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Environmental and Health Effects Assessors

Jackie Schwartz, MPH
Environmental Health Scientist
Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services

Tracy Barreau, REHS
Environmental Health Scientist
Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services


ATSDR Regional Representatives

William Nelson
Gwendolyn Eng
Libby Levy
Regional Representatives, Region IX
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Tammie McRae, M.S.
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch, State Programs Section


CERTIFICATION

This Community Follow-Up Regarding Lead, Nitrate, Mercury, and Chromium Levels in Water From Private Domestic Wells Near the Pacific Gas & Electric Facility in Hinkley, California Health Consultation was prepared by the California Department of Health Services under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with the approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

Tammie McRae, M.S.
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR


The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this health consultation, and concurs with its findings.

Roberta Erlwein
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


APPENDIX A: LETTER TO HINKLEY RESIDENT (ENGLISH)

To: Hinkley Resident
Re: Water Quality
From: The California Department of Health Services
Date: August 30, 2001


DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
1515 CLAY STREET, SUITE 1700
OAKLAND, CA 94612
(510) 622-4500


August 30, 2001

Resident
Hinkley, CA

Dear Sir or Madam:

Your well water was tested by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. The test showed that your water is not safe.

Do not give your baby this water to drink. Do not feed your baby formula or food made with this water. The water has harmful amounts of nitrate, lead and mercury in it and can make your baby sick. Use bottled water only for drinking and cooking.

We would like to talk to you about the test and your well water. Please call Judy Lewis at 510-622-4490. To call collect dial 510-622-4500. Judy speaks Spanish. If Judy does not answer the phone, please leave a message with a phone number where she can call you back.

Sincerely,


Rick Kreutzer, M.D.
Chief
Environmental Health Investigations Branch

cc:

Thomas Prendergast, M.D., M.P.H.
Health Officer, San Bernardino County
351 North Mountain View Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415


APPENDIX B: LETTER TO HINKLEY RESIDENT (SPANISH)

To: Hinkley Resident
Re: Water Quality
From: The California Department of Health Services
Date: August 30, 2001


DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
1515 CLAY STREET, SUITE 1700
OAKLAND, CA 94612
(510) 622-4500


30 de agosoto de 2001

Resident
Hinkley, CA

Estimada Señora/Estimado Señor:

El agua de su pozo fue probado recientemente por el Consejo de Control de la Calidad del Agua de la Región Lahontan (Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board en inglés). La prueba mostró que el agua no es potable.

No se debe dar este agua a su bebe. No dé formula ni alimentos hechos con este agua al bebe. El agua tiene cantidades dañinos de nitratos, plomo, y mercurio que pueden causar que el bebe se enferme. Solo use agua embotellada para beber y cocinar.

Quisiéramos hablar con usted acerca de los resultados de esta prueba y el agua de pozo. Por favor llame a Judy Lewis al (510) 622-4490. Para llamar por cobrar marque al (510) 622-4500. Judy habla espanol. Si ella no contesta, por favor deje un recado con un numero de teléfono donde ella le puede llamar.

Atentamente,


Rick Kreutzer, M.D.
El Jefe
La Rama de Investigaciones de la Salud Medioambiental

cc:

Thomas Prendergast, M.D., M.P.H.
Health Officer, San Bernardino County
351 North Mountain View Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415


APPENDIX C: HINKLEY RESIDENT (ENGLISH)

To: Hinkley Resident
Re: Results of Private Well Testing
From: The California Department of Health Services
Date: September 14, 2001


DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
1515 CLAY STREET, SUITE 1700
OAKLAND, CA 94612
(510) 622-4500


September 14, 2001

Resident
Hinkley CA 92347

Dear Resident:

We are writing to provide you with the results of the tests that the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board recently performed on water from your private well (located at ADDRESS). Your private well water was tested because it is located near the area of the groundwater that has been contaminated with chromium 6 (hexavalent chromium) by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. We (the California Department of Health Services Environmental Health Investigations Branch) recommended that the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board measure the levels of total chromium and chromium 6 in private wells located near the chromium 6 groundwater contamination.

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board had E.S. Babcock & Sons laboratory measure the levels of total chromium and chromium 6 in your private drinking well water. In order to learn more about the characteristics and quality of the groundwater, they also had NEL laboratories analyze your water for metals, minerals and other inorganic compounds. At high levels, these compounds can make water either unsafe or unpleasant (bad taste, odor or appearance) to drink. Copies of the laboratory reports are included with this letter.

We reviewed the results of the tests that were performed on water from your private well. We also compared the levels of compounds in your water to the levels that are allowed in public drinking water systems. (The state of California regulates public drinking water systems in order to ensure the safety and the quality of public water supplies.)

As we will explain in more detail in the remainder of this letter, the levels of total chromium and chromium 6 in your drinking water do not pose a risk to your health. However, the levels of nitrate, lead, mercury, chloride, specific conductance, sulfate, and total dissolved solids in your water do exceed public drinking water standards and therefore may affect the safety or the quality (taste, odor, appearance) of your well water.

Results for Total Chromium and Chromium 6

The California drinking water standard for total chromium was created in order to ensure that public water supplies are safe to drink. The drinking water standard for total chromium is 50 micrograms per liter (µg/L). There is no specific drinking water standard for chromium 6.

Total chromium is made up of chromium 3 (trivalent chromium) and chromium 6. The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board measured the levels of total chromium and chromium 6 in your water. The test results show that your private well water contains 6 µg/L ppb total chromium and 0.53 µg/L chromium 6.

The amount of total chromium in your private well water is below the drinking water standard for total chromium and therefore does not pose a risk to your health.

We have included a fact sheet that provides more information on chromium in drinking water and on the chromium drinking water standard.

Results for Nitrate

The California drinking water standard for nitrate was created to ensure that public water supplies are safe to drink. The drinking water standard for nitrate is 10 milligrams per liter as nitrogen (mg/L-N).

The test results show that the amount of nitrate in your private well water is 62 mg/L-N. This level is greater than the California drinking water standard of 10 mg/L-N. The source of the nitrate contamination of your well water is unknown; however, nitrate is commonly found in water supplies, especially in agricultural areas.

Pregnant women and young infants who drink water contaminated with high levels of nitrate are the most at risk of developing serious health problems. However, these health problems will stop once you are no longer exposed to nitrate. If you are pregnant or have a young infant (under six months old), we recommend that you use different water (for example, municipal or bottled water) for drinking, cooking, and making infant formula.

We have included a brochure that provides more information on nitrate. The brochure is titled "Health Concerns Related to Nitrate and Nitrite in Private Well Water."

Results for Lead

The California drinking water standard for lead was created to ensure that public water supplies are safe to drink. The drinking water standard for lead is 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L).

The test results show that the amount of lead in your private well water is 0.089 mg/L. The amount of lead in your water is higher than the California drinking water standard of 0.015 mg/L.

Children under six years old are at the highest risk for lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can harm the brain, nerves and kidneys of a young child and make it very hard for a child to learn, pay attention, and behave. Most children with lead poisoning do not look or act sick.

There are many ways that children may be exposed to lead, including air, water, dust, soil and older paints that contain lead. We have included two brochures that provide more information on childhood lead poisoning and the ways that children may be exposed to lead.

A child who drinks water from your well and who is also exposed to lead from other common sources may be exposed to greater amounts of lead than is recommended. If you have a young child who drinks water from your well, or if you have other sources of lead exposure in your home (for example, paint manufactured before 1978), we recommend that you use different water (municipal or bottled). We also recommend that the child have a blood lead test. The blood lead test is the only way to know if your child has lead poisoning. Your doctor or clinic can give your child a blood lead test. You may also call the San Bernardino County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (909) 387-6305 for further information on lead poisoning and the blood lead test.

The source of the lead contamination is currently unknown. Because water was taken from your well and not from inside your house, we do know that the source of the lead contamination is not your plumbing. The lead in your water could be coming from a material that was used to construct your well or from an outside source that has contaminated the groundwater in your area. We recommend that you ask your well constructor if lead solder was used to construct your well. This information should be recorded in the drill records for your well.

Results for Mercury

The California drinking water standard for inorganic mercury was created to ensure that public water supplies are safe to drink. The drinking water standard for inorganic mercury is 0.002 mg/L.

The test results show that the amount of inorganic mercury in your private well water is 0.0029 mg/L. This level is above the California drinking water standard of 0.002 mg/L.

Exposure to very high levels of inorganic mercury salts can damage the kidney and nervous system. Young children are more at risk for health problems than adults because mercury is more easily absorbed into their bodies. Because the level of mercury in your well water is above the drinking water standard, we recommend that you use water from a different source (bottled, municipal) for drinking and cooking.

The source of the mercury contamination in your well water is currently unknown. Mercury is used in batteries, and in some paints, pesticides and chemicals. If any of these items spill or are improperly disposed of near your well, the mercury in them can move through the soil and reach the water in your well. We recommend that you continue to test for mercury in your well water (in order to better understand the contamination) and that you try to identify the source of the mercury contamination.

Results for Chloride, Specific Conductance, Sulfate, and Total Dissolved Solids

The drinking water standards for chloride, specific conductance, sulfate, and total dissolved solids were created in order to protect the quality (taste, odor, appearance) of public water supplies. The standard for chloride is 250 mg/L, for specific conductance is 900 micromhos (µS/cm), for sulfate is 250 mg/L and for total dissolved solids is 500 mg/L.

The test results show that your private well water has 930 mg/L chloride, 4910 µS/cm specific conductance, 880 mg/L sulfate, and 3490 mg/L total dissolved solids. These levels are higher than the California drinking water standards. High levels of chloride, specific conductance, sulfate and total dissolved solids may affect the taste, odor or appearance of your well water. These compounds do not put your health at risk.

Follow-up Testing

One water test does not provide enough information to fully understand the safety and quality of your water. For this reason, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board would like to take another sample of your well water in the near future. They will retest the water for nitrate, lead, mercury, chloride, specific conductance, sulfate, and total dissolve solids. Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board will provide you with the results of these tests.

Recommendations for Private Well Owners

Many chemicals, metals, minerals and bacteria may be present in private wells and may threaten the safety and quality of your drinking water. These compounds can come from both natural sources and human activity. Private drinking water wells are not regulated or tested by the state, so people with private wells are responsible for making sure that their own drinking water is safe.

We have recommended that you do not use your well water for drinking and cooking. Should you switch to a different or a new well, we encourage you to routinely test that well to ensure the safety of your drinking water. Since bacteria are the most common problem in private wells, we would suggest that you also have the water tested for coliform.

Lastly, California-certified water filters and treatment systems that you can purchase in stores are not intended to treat water with levels of contaminants that are above the heath-based drinking water standard. Therefore, we do not recommend that you rely upon these filters and treatment systems to reduce the levels of nitrate, lead, and mercury measured in your well water.

If you have any questions about the information we have provided, please do not hesitate to call Tracy Barreau at (510) 622-4489 or Jackie Schwartz at (510) 622-4487.

Sincerely,


Jackie Schwartz, MPH
Environmental Health Scientist
Environmental Health Investigations Branch

Marilyn Underwood, Ph.D.
Staff Toxicologist
Environmental Health Investigations Branch

Enclosures

cc:

Harold Singer, Executive Officer
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
2501 Lake Tahoe Boulevard
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Mike Plaziak, Acting Mojave Unit Chief
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
15428 Civic Drive, Suite 100
Victorville, CA 92392

Joe Koutsky, AWRCE
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
15428 Civic Drive, Suite 100
Victorville, CA 92392

William Vance, Assistant Secretary of Air and Water Programs
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 "I" Street, 25th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Lynn Baker, Staff Air Pollution Specialist
California Air Resources Board
1001 "I" Street, 6th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

PROPERTY OWNER


APPENDIX D: HINKLEY RESIDENT (SPANISH)

To: Hinkley Resident
Re: Results of Private Well Testing
From: The California Department of Health Services
Date: September 14, 2001


DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
1515 CLAY STREET, SUITE 1700
OAKLAND, CA 94612
(510) 622-4500


17 de septiembre del 2001

Resident
Hinkley, CA

Estimado Señor o Señora:

Deseamos informarle los resultados de los análisis que la Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan (Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board) realizó recientemente en el agua de su pozo privado. El agua de su pozo privado se analizó porque éste se encuentra ubicado cerca de un área donde Pacific Gas and Electric Company contaminó el agua subterránea con cromo 6 (cromo hexavalente). La División de investigaciones sobre salud ambiental del departamento de servicios de salud de California (California Department of Health Services Environmental Health Investigations Branch) recomendó que la Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan midiera las concentraciones de cromo total y de cromo 6 en todos los pozos privados ubicados cerca del área cuya agua subterránea se encuentre contaminada con cromo 6.

La Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan, a través del laboratorio E.S. Babcock & Sons midió las concentraciones de cromo total y de cromo 6 en el agua potable de su pozo privado. Con el fin de obtener más información sobre las características y la calidad del agua subterránea, la junta también pidió a NEL Laboratories que analizara el contenido de metales, minerales y otros compuestos inorgánicos en su agua. Cuando estos compuestos se encuentran en altas concentraciones, ocasionan que el agua sea insegura o desagradable (mal sabor, olor o aspecto) para beber. Con esta carta se incluyen copias de los informes de laboratorio.

Revisamos los resultados de los análisis que se realizaron en el agua de su pozo privado. También comparamos las concentraciones de los compuestos presentes en su agua con las concentraciones permitidas en los sistemas públicos de agua potable. (El estado de California regula los sistemas públicos de agua potable con el fin de asegurar la seguridad y la calidad de los sistemas públicos de abastecimiento de agua).

Como explicaremos en forma mas detallada al final esta carta, la concentración de cromo total en su agua potable no representa un riesgo para su salud. Sin embargo, las concentraciones de nitratos, plomo, mercurio, sólidos disueltos totales, sulfatos y cloruros en su agua exceden los estándares de sistemas públicos de agua potable, y por lo tanto pueden afectar la seguridad o la calidad (sabor, olor aspecto) del agua de su pozo.

Resultados del contenido de cromo

El estándar de cromo total en el agua potable de California se creó con el fin de asegurar que los sistemas públicos de abastecimiento de agua sean seguros para beber. El estándar de cromo total en el agua potable es de 50 microgramos por litro (µg/L).

El cromo total incluye cromo 3 (cromo trivalente) y cromo 6 (cromo hexavalente). La Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan midió las concentraciones de cromo total y de cromo 6 en su agua. Los resultados de los análisis muestran que el agua de su pozo privado contiene 6 µg/L de cromo total y 0.53 µg/L de cromo 6.

Las concentraciones de cromo total en el agua de su pozo privado no exceden el estándar de cromo total en el agua potable y por lo tanto no representan un riesgo para su salud. No existe un estándar específico del contenido de cromo 6 en el agua potable.

Resultados del contenido de nitratos

El estándar de nitratos en el agua potable de California se creó con el fin de asegurar que los sistemas públicos de abastecimiento de agua sean seguros para beber. El estándar de nitratos en agua potable es de 10 miligramos por litro, medido como nitrógeno (mg/L-N).

Los resultados de los análisis muestran que la cantidad de nitratos en el agua de su pozo privado es de 62 mg/L-N. Esta concentración es mayor que la establecida en el estándar de agua potable de California, que es de 10 mg/L-N. Se desconoce la fuente de contaminación por nitratos en el agua de su pozo; sin embargo, los sistemas de abastecimiento de agua comúnmente contienen nitratos, especialmente en áreas agrícolas. La Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan investigará la fuente de contaminación por nitratos.

Las mujeres embarazadas y los niños pequeños que beben agua contaminada con altas concentraciones de nitratos son los que corren un mayor riesgo de desarrollar problemas médicos graves. Sin embargo, estos problemas médicos desaparecen cuando las personas dejan de estar expuestas a los nitratos. Si está embarazada, o si tiene niños pequeños (menores de seis meses de edad) que se alimenten con fórmula preparada con el agua de su pozo, le recomendamos que utilice una fuente diferente de agua (por ejemplo, agua municipal o embotellada) para beber, cocinar y elaborar preparados para el bebé.

Resultados del contenido de plomo

El estándar de plomo en el agua potable de California se creó con el fin de asegurar que los sistemas públicos de abastecimiento de agua sean seguros para beber. El estándar de plomo en el agua potable es de 0.015 miligramos por litro (mg/L).

Los resultados de los análisis muestran que la cantidad de plomo en el agua de su pozo privado es de 0.089 mg/L. Esta concentración es mayor que la establecida en el estándar de agua potable de California, que es de 0.015 mg/L. Actualmente se desconoce la fuente de contaminación por plomo en el agua de su pozo. Debido a que la muestra de agua se tomó de su pozo y no del interior de su casa, sabemos que la fuente de contaminación por plomo no es su tubería. Es posible que el plomo de su agua provenga de uno de los materiales que se usó para construir su pozo, o de una fuente externa que ha contaminado el agua subterránea de su área. Si existe una fuente externa, la Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan investigará la contaminación del agua subterránea. Le recomendamos que pregunte a la persona que construyó su pozo si se utilizó soldadura de plomo para la construcción. Esta información debe estar incluida en los archivos de perforación de su pozo.

Los niños menores de 6 años de edad son los que corren mayor riesgo de sufrir envenenamiento por plomo. El envenenamiento por plomo puede causar daños en el cerebro, el sistema nervioso y los riñones de los niños pequeños y dificultar que el niño aprenda, preste atención y se comporte. La mayoría de los niños que sufren envenenamiento por plomo no se ven enfermos ni actúan como si lo estuvieran.

Hay muchas maneras en que los niños pueden estar expuestos al plomo, entre ellas el aire, agua, polvo, suelo y pinturas viejas que contienen plomo. Hemos incluido dos folletos en los que se proporciona más información sobre el envenenamiento infantil por plomo y las maneras en que los niños pueden estar expuestos a este compuesto. Los folletos se titulan "La Intoxicación de Plomo en la Sangre" y "El Envenenamiento Por El plomo y Sus Niños."

Un niño que beba agua de su pozo, y que también esté expuesto al plomo de otras fuentes comunes, puede estar expuesto a mayores cantidades de plomo que las recomendadas. Por lo tanto, si tiene un niño pequeño que bebe agua de su pozo, o si en su hogar hay otras fuentes de exposición al plomo (por ejemplo pintura fabricada antes de 1978), le recomendamos que haga un análisis a su hijo para saber las concentraciones de plomo en su sangre. Este tipo de análisis es la única manera de saber si su hijo sufre envenenamiento por plomo. Su médico o clínica puede realizar un análisis de plomo en la sangre de su hijo. También puede llamar al Programa de prevención de envenenamiento infantil por plomo del condado de San Bernandino (San Bernardino County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program) al teléfono (909) 387-6305 para solicitar más información sobre el envenenamiento de plomo y los análisis de plomo en la sangre.

Resultados del contenido de mercurio

El estándar de mercurio en el agua potable de California se creó con el fin de asegurar que los sistemas públicos de abastecimiento de agua sean seguros para beber. El estándar de mercurio en agua potable es de 0.002 mg/L.

Los resultados de los análisis muestran que la cantidad de mercurio inorgánico en el agua de su pozo privado es de 0.0029 mg/L. Esta concentración es mayor que la establecida en el estándar de agua potable de California, que es de 0.002 mg/L.

Actualmente se desconoce la fuente de contaminación por mercurio en el agua de su pozo. El mercurio se usa en las baterías, en algunas pinturas, pesticidas y sustancias químicas. Si alguno de estos artículos se derrama o se desecha inadecuadamente cerca de su pozo, el mercurio que contienen puede pasar al suelo y llegar hasta el agua de su pozo.

La exposición a concentraciones muy altas de sales inorgánicas de mercurio puede causar daños en el riñón y el sistema nervioso. Los niños pequeños corren más riesgo de sufrir problemas médicos que los adultos, ya que su cuerpo absorbe más fácilmente el mercurio. Debido a que la concentración de mercurio en el agua de su pozo es mayor que la establecida en el estándar de agua potable, le recomendamos que utilice agua de una fuente diferente (agua embotellada o municipal) para beber y cocinar. También le recomendamos que continúe realizando análisis de mercurio en el agua de su pozo (con el fin de entender mejor la contaminación) y que trate de identificar la fuente de contaminación por mercurio.

Resultados del contenido de cloruros, sulfatos, sólidos disueltos totales y la potencia conductora específica

Los estándares del contenido de cloruros, sulfatos y sólidos disueltos totales y la potencia conductora específica del agua potable se crearon con el fin de proteger la calidad (sabor, olor, aspecto) de los sistemas públicos de abastecimiento de agua. El estándar de cloruros es de 250 mg/L; de sulfatos, de 250 mg/L; de sólidos disueltos totales, de 500 mg/L; y de potencia conductora específica, de 900 micromhos por centímetro (µS/cm).

Los resultados de los análisis muestran que el agua de su pozo privado tiene 3,490 mg/L de sólidos disueltos totales, 930 mg/L de cloruros, 3490 µS/cm de potencia conductora específica, y 880 mg/L de sulfatos. Estas concentraciones son mayores que las establecidas en los estándares del agua potable de California. Las concentraciones altas de cloruros y de sólidos disueltos totales pueden afectar el sabor, olor o aspecto del agua de su pozo. Sin embargo, estos compuestos no representan un riesgo para su salud.

Análisis de seguimiento

Un solo análisis de agua no proporciona suficiente información para entender completamente la seguridad y calidad de su agua. Por esta razón, la Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan desea tomar otra muestra del agua de su pozo en un futuro cercano. Se repetirían los análisis de nitratos, plomo, mercurio, sólidos disueltos totales, cloruros y sulfatos. La Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan también le proporcionará los resultados de estos análisis, y le dará información actualizada sobre sus investigaciones de las fuentes de contaminación por nitratos del agua subterránea.

Recomendaciones para los propietarios de pozos privados

Es posible que los pozos privados contengan muchas sustancias químicas, metales, minerales y bacterias que pueden amenazar la seguridad y la calidad de su agua potable. Estos compuestos pueden provenir de fuentes naturales y de las actividades humanas. Los pozos privados de agua potable no están regulados ni son analizados por el estado, de manera que los propietarios de estos pozos son los responsables de asegurarse de que su propia agua potable sea adecuada para beber.

Le recomendamos enfáticamente que analice periódicamente su pozo para asegurarse de que su agua potable sea adecuada para beber. Ya que la presencia de bacterias es el problema más común en los pozos privados, le sugerimos que analice periódicamente su pozo para detectar la presencia de coliformes. La Junta regional de control de calidad del agua de Lahontan no realizó análisis de bacterias en el agua de su pozo.

Si tiene preguntas sobre la información que le hemos proporcionado, por favor llame a Tracy Barreau al teléfono (510) 622-4489 o a Jackie Schwartz al teléfono (510) 622-4487.

Atentamente:


Jackie Schwartz, MPH
Científica de salud ambiental
La Rama de Investigaciones de la Salud Medioambiental

Marilyn Underwood, Ph.D.
Toxicóloga
La Rama de Investigaciones de la Salud Medioambiental

Anexos

ccp:

Harold Singer, Ejecutivo Principal
Lahanton Regional Water Quality Control Board
2501 Lake Tahoe Boulevard
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Mike Plaziak, Jefe Interino de la Unidad Mojave
Lahanton Regional Water Quality Control Board
15428 Civic Drive, Suite 100
Victorville, CA 92392

Joe Koutsky, AWRCE
Lahanton Regional Water Quality Control Board
15428 Civic Drive, Suite 100
Victorville, CA 92392

William Vance, Secretario Asistente de programas del aire y agua
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 "I" Street, 25th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Lynn Baker, Especialista de contaminación del aire
California Air Resources Board
1001 "I" Street, 6th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Property Owner


APPENDIX E: FACT SHEET ON CHROMIUM IN DRINKING WATER


Click here to see this Fact Sheet online


APPENDIX F: FACT SHEET: HEALTH CONCERNS RELATED TO NITRATE AND NITRITE IN PRIVATE WELL WATER


Click here to view Appendix F in PDF Format (232KB, PDF)


APPENDIX G: INFORMATION BROCHURE: LEAD POISONING AND YOUR CHILDREN


Click here to view Appendix G in PDF Format (215KB, PDF)


APPENDIX H: INFORMATION BROCHURE: LEAD POISONING: ARE YOUR CHILDREN IN DANGER?


Click here to view Appendix H in PDF Format (2107KB, PDF)

Table of Contents

  
 
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #