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We take our water quality very seriously. That is why we perform more than 22,000 water quality tests from well to tap each year, ensuring our customers receive only water that meets or surpasses all state and federal regulations for drinking water quality.
Each year, by mandate of the State Board of Water Resources and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RPU creates the Water Quality Annual Report to inform consumers about their water supplies. In June, the report is published with the previous year’s data and sent to customers with their bills.
Is my water from Riverside Public Utilities safe?
YES. Riverside Public Utilities water meets or surpasses all State Water Resources Control Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for drinking water quality.
Where does RPU’s water come from?
All of RPU’s water comes from groundwater resources in the San Bernardino, Bunker Hill, and Riverside Basins.
Do I need a water filter to make my water drinkable?
NO. RPU’s water has a trace amount of chlorine that helps to purify the water and prevent harmful bacteria and viruses from growing in it. However, if you wish to remove the chlorine from you water, there are carbon filters designed for this purpose.
What helps keep my water safe?
Testing and monitoring. RPU tests for over 200 possible chemical contaminants that may affect our groundwater resources, performing more than 22,000 water quality test per year to ensure that we supply reliable, high quality and safe drinking water.
Who tests Riverside’s water?
RPU’s water sources are rigorously tested by a private laboratory certified by the state which is evaluated annually to ensure its ability to perform the testing.
I have additional questions about water quality. How can I get more information?
Call us. RPU water system representatives can answer your questions at (951) 351-6370, or contact our Customer Call Center at (951) 826-5311.
As water travels over the surface of land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals, and in some cases can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or human activity.
Testing - RPU sends water samples to an independent state-verified laboratory that test for 200 possible chemical contaminants in our water supply.
Only those chemicals that are found in the system are reported in the Water Quality Annual Report each year. The latest state-of-the-art testing equipment can detect contaminants down to parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb), and even parts per trillion (ppt).
Treatment & Blending – RPU has treatment plants that help to clean water from any contaminants and we blend all water sources at a central location before it enters our distribution systems.
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – This is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set to protect the odor, taste, and appearance of drinking water.
Public Health Goal (PHG) – California’s Environmental Protection Agency sets PHGs based on the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected health risks.
Parts Per Million (ppm) – Imagine one penny in $10,000, and that’s what one part per billion looks like.
Parts Per Billion (ppb) – While one part per billion is that same penny in $10 million.
Water is essential to all life on Earth, so when issues about water quality come up, it gets everybody’s attention and consumers begin to question whether their water sources are safe.
For example, an environmental group based out of Washington, D.C. published a study in 2009 that they say showed the worst water providers in the country. However, they were using untreated groundwater sampling data, not the high quality, treated tap water that comes out of your faucet for their study.
But the media had picked up the story and made consumers panic and utilities had to assure customers that their water was safe.
Meanwhile, a problem of our new age is that bloggers, tweeters, and the web itself keep information indefinitely. So this incorrect news can pop up again and again, causing the same questions and concerns from customers each time.
So what to do? Stay informed, and if you have questions about your water quality call us. Riverside Public Utilities Water System representatives are available at (951) 351-6370 or you can talk to a Customer Service representative at (951) 782-0330 or by dialing 311.
To help answer some questions about key water issues in the news, we’ve compiled this data for you to review and share with your family and friends.
Chromium – Chromium is an odorless and tasteless metallic element that is found naturally in rocks, plants, soil and volcanic dust, and animals.
The most common forms of chromium that occur in natural waters in the environment are: Trivalent chromium (chromium-3) and Hexavalent chromium (chromium-6). Chromium-3 is an essential human dietary element that can be found in many vegetables, fruits, meats, grains, and yeast.
Chromium-6 occurs naturally in the environment from the erosion of natural chromium deposits. It can also be produced by industrial processes. There are demonstrated instances of chromium being released to the environment by leakage, poor storage, or inadequate industrial waste disposal practices.
Most hexavalent chromium in Riverside Public Utilities’ water is the result of degrading granite far below the ground, and has been occurring for thousands of years. Thus, hundreds of generations have been drinking water with the same levels of chromium that we experience today.
Lead – Elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems. Primarily, lead in drinking water comes from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. If you have older plumbing that may contain lead, flush the tap for 30 seconds to two minutes to try and minimize potential lead exposure.
Perchlorate – Perchlorate is a regulated drinking water contaminant in California that has a maximum contaminant level of 6 parts per billion. Perchlorate salts were used in solid rocket propellants and other industrial applications. Once an issue with some of Riverside’s water supply, perchlorate is now non detectable in RPU’s water.
For detailed results of our recent lead sampling that meets the recommendations by the state, see the 2016 LCR monitoring status. You may also wish to view the USEPA Consumer Information Lead and Copper page.
Find out about the water service a typical residential water bill covers, and the costs of delivering a consistent, reliable flow of safe and affordable drinking water to your faucet.
These Frequently Asked Questions will help you to understand why recycled water is good for our community. Learn more about RPU's recycled water projects.
Riverside Public Utilities continues to enhance the City of Riverside’s water supply reliability through a comprehensive recycled water program. The use of recycled water frees up drinking water supply, avoids costly imported water supplies and increases our water supply reliability. Every gallon of recycled water used results in a gallon of drinking water saved.
What is recycled water?
Recycled water, also called reclaimed water, is highly treated wastewater that can be reused again for a variety of purposes, including agriculture and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, and replenishing groundwater basins.
Is it safe for children and pets to play on grass irrigated by recycled water?
Yes, the California Department of Health Services has very high treatment standards for recycled water. Riverside Public Utilities recycled water meets or exceeds all State standards for water used for irrigation and other uses with similar public exposure.
What is recycled water used for?
The State has identified approved uses for recycled water in California based on the level of treatment. Riverside Public Utilities produces and distributes disinfected, tertiary treated recycled water (water treated three times). This water can be used for landscape irrigation and replenishing groundwater basins. This water is not approved for drinking.
What makes recycled water safe?
The State of California regulates how recycled water can be used. Recycled water gets treated three times at water reclamation plants. During the first treatment, large solids are removed. The second treatment uses bacteria to remove approximately 90% to 95% of the remaining solids and uses a disinfectant, such as chlorine, to destroy bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. The third treatment process includes filtration and reverse osmosis as required. The treatment methods duplicate and accelerate nature’s purifying actions. Riverside Public Utilities produces and distributes disinfected recycled water, which is treated three times.
Is recycled water regulated?
Yes. There are a variety of laws, regulations and statewide policies that govern how recycled water is defined, what it can be used for, and under what conditions. California laws regulating recycled water are located in the Health and Safety Code, the Water Code, and Titles 17 and 22 of the California Code of Regulations. Title 17 of the California Code of Regulation describes the requirements for backflow prevention devices required at a site when recycled water is used. The requirements prevent recycled water from getting into the public drinking water system in the event a cross-connection occurs where recycled water is used. Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations describes the treatment requirements for recycled water, as well as approved uses based on the level treatment. Also included in Title 22 are the Use Area Requirements which describe restrictions of recycled water uses and the requirement to notify the public through signage that a site is using recycled water.
What is Purple Pipe?
Recycled water is delivered through a parallel distribution system that is completely separate from the drinking water infrastructure. This separate system uses what is known internationally as “Purple Pipe” to keep these valuable sources of water separate and make recycled water system easily identifiable. The use of Purple Pipe infrastructure helps ensure that cross-connections between two systems do not occur.
Can I get recycled water at my property?
The Jackson Street Recycled Water Pipeline Project will expand the recycled water line by a little more than three miles along Jackson Street (Please see Project Map). The first phase of the project will serve schools, parks and select industrial customers along the pipeline.
California Drinking Water-Related Laws
Division of Drinking Water’s Recycled Water Information
California Department of Water Resources
California Water Resources Control Board
Riverside Regional Water Quality Control Board