On Oct. 25, 2016, the CVWD Board of Directors temporarily stopped construction of chromium-6 treatment facilities and approved launching a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of an alternative process using test equipment installed at representative CVWD wells. The results of the pilot study will be available in Mid-2017.

If this alternative proves to be a viable solution, CVWD expects to meet the state’s Jan. 1, 2020 deadline to be in compliance with the new MCL. If testing shows this alternative is not feasible and CVWD reverts to the original plan, CVWD may not meet the 2020 deadline. However, because the alternative process has the potential to meet the MCL at a substantially lower cost and with less negative impact to the community and the environment, it was determined that taking time to conduct the pilot study is the right decision.
10/25/2016 Board Meeting Powerpoint

Background information

As far back as 2012, CVWD started evaluating possible treatment options to ensure that CVWD complied with the MCL in as timely, effective and affordable a manner as possible. When the MCL went into effect July 1, 2014 water agencies were given mere months to comply, prompting CVWD to begin designing treatment facilities based on known technologies. CVWD also pursued legislation signed by Governor Brown in September 2015 that now provides water agencies the ability to satisfy the new regulation while implementing compliance plans at the earliest feasible date no later than January 1, 2020.
Water samples
Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is committed to providing high quality drinking water that meets all state and federal water quality standards. This commitment includes delivering water that complies with the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water (State) maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 parts per billion for chromium-6, a mineral that occurs naturally in Coachella Valley groundwater.
In July 2016, the CVWD Board of Directors approved entering into an agreement for the construction of ion exchange and blending water treatment facilities at 29 drinking water wells throughout the service area. The Board also authorized construction of a Central Resin Regeneration Facility and pipelines to support these treatment facilities. Most customers are aware of this extensive plan, which was among the key reasons for recent rate increases.

On Sept. 27, 2016, before construction of treatment facilities started, the results of a new water treatment study were released that showed significant removal of chromium-6 from drinking water using an alternative treatment process. A bench scale test performed at CVWD’s water quality laboratory in October 2016 indicates this new process is a Reduction-Coagulation-Filtration (RCF) process that is effective on water samples from CVWD wells and has the potential to be a simpler alternative that is more environmentally friendly, more cost-effective and would have less impact on the community. Some communities expressed concerns that the new treatment facilities would be too noticeable by neighbors and require too much traffic to maintain. The alternative treatment process would utilize tanks hidden behind well site walls and require less disruptive maintenance.

More details will be shared with the community as they become available.


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Background information and important documents

News coverage about Chromium-6

Bottled water options

Some bottled water brands available at local grocery stores and other locations provide water quality reports indicating Cr6 or chromium (which includes Cr6) levels below 10 ppb. The following list is not intended to be a complete list of all bottled water with possible Cr6 levels below 10 ppb. Inclusion in the list does not represent an endorsement of any kind.