California Voters Alerted to Water Contamination 11/01/02
"Fresno's water supply, which the report cites as the worst of the four, has serious problems caused by nitrates, pesticides and industrial chemicals.""Perhaps acknowledging the problem, the city of Fresno this year urged that pregnant women and parents of infants consult with their health care providers about their tap water." "Nitrates and other contaminants are a serious problem in Fresno's tap water," said Dr. Beatte Ritz of Physicians for Social Responsibility, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Health. "Last year the city itself told pregnant women to avoid drinking it. That's good advice." "Fresno, San Diego and San Francisco don't adequately inform their residents about contamination," said NRDC's Olson. "Californians have a right to know what's in their tap water and whether it might harm them."
Fresno, California, is the only community in the United States to have received a grade of F from the Natural Resources Defense Council for protection of our source water, and we received grades of D for Water Quality and Compliance, and for Right-to-Know Reports. Our watersheds have been rated as among the dirtiest/worst in the nation on the Environmental Scorecard. ______________________________________________
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Fresno doesn’t test, but sure water is drug-free
The Fresno Bee
Fresno does not test its water for pharmaceuticals -- and has no intention of starting until the state establishes a set of standards. If that happens, "we’re willing to test," said Lon Martin, assistant director for the city’s public utilities department.
When that day comes -- and Martin believes it will -- he is confident Fresno’s water will contain none of the pharmaceuticals found in the drinking water of other major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia and Detroit.
"Luckily for the city of Fresno, I don’t think there’s going to be a big impact," Martin said.
Officials believe drinking water supplies are clean because of the region’s geography and the distance between wells and the waste-water treatment plant.
Martin said both Fresno and Clovis are on the east side of the Valley, closer to the Sierra Nevada, and the mountain range’s annual snowmelt naturally recharges groundwater, essentially flushing out older water into lower parts of the San Joaquin Valley. Fresno -- and its wells -- are also at a higher elevation and far from the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which is southwest of the city.
The drinking water in other metropolitan areas where testing found pharmaceuticals often is drawn from the same source where treated water is discharged, places such as reservoirs or rivers.
In Fresno, treated water is discharged into the ground, but most is pumped out and used on nonfood crops and for city landscaping. The plant’s elevation is well below areas where potable-water pumps are located.
Still, in 2003 and 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required the city to test a 25-square-mile area around the wastewater treatment plant, Martin said. Though the test was not specifically for pharmaceuticals, none were found in the test, he said.
Asked whether there was a chance pharmaceuticals could be found in Fresno’s drinking water, Martin said: "The same possibility as being struck by lightning in the next 30 seconds."