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U.S. EPA ORDERS 45 CALIFORNIA WATER SYSTEMS TO MONITOR FOR LEAD

 U.S. EPA ORDERS 45 CALIFORNIA WATER SYSTEMS TO MONITOR FOR LEAD
 SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that 45 public water supply systems with populations of 50,000 or more in 22 counties in California are violating federal drinking water regulations by not monitoring home tap water for lead and copper.
 The U.S. EPA has issued proposed orders to the systems to compel them to begin monitoring tap water in homes likely to have high levels of lead and copper. The Safe Drinking Water Act required the systems to collect samples and report the results to the California Department of Health Services by July 10, 1992, which these systems did not do.
 "It is extremely important that these systems begin monitoring high- risk homes for lead and copper," said Harry Seraydarian, U.S. EPA's Water Management Division director. "Reduction of lead will especially benefit young children, who are at much greater risk than adults to the effects of lead."
 The federal lead and copper rule, adopted in May 1991, requires large water supply systems serving more than 50,000 people to monitor first-draw water from the taps of homes that are at high risk of having a lead problem. This monitoring should have been done between Jan. 1 and June 30, 1992. Homes at high risk for lead are those with new lead solder applied since 1982 and those with lead service lines.
 The rule also requires systems to complete another round of monitoring between July 1 and Dec. 31, 1992. Based on the results of this monitoring, water systems may have to adjust their treatment techniques to minimize lead levels in drinking water. Ultimately, some suppliers may have to replace lead service lines to minimize lead levels at household taps. The systems will be required to monitor for an additional six months to make up for the lost first phase of monitoring. The violating systems must still meet the deadlines established in the rule for the second phase of monitoring and the possible replacement of lead service lines.
 Under the proposed orders, the systems have until the end of October to submit monitoring reports to the U.S. EPA to show they have complied with the law, or 14 days to request a hearing. Penalties may be imposed following issuance of any final administrative order.
 The main cause of lead in drinking water is the corrosion of lead from pipes, solder and fixtures between the water treatment plant and the consumer's tap. The more corrosive the water leaving the treatment plant, the greater the chance that this water will leach lead from plumbing, carrying it to the consumer. Water suppliers can greatly reduce the amount of lead at the consumer's tap by minimizing the corrosivity of water at the treatment plant.
 Lead levels in drinking water are generally low in the United States. Most childhood exposure to lead comes from old paint, soil and dust. Lead can interfere with the formation of red blood cells, reduce birth weight, cause premature birth, delay physical and mental development in babies and young children and impair mental abilities in children in general. In adults, lead can increase blood pressure and interfere with hearing. At high levels of exposure, lead can cause anemia, kidney damage and mental retardation. Health effects from lead generally depend upon exposure from all sources.
 Copper, like lead, occurs in drinking water primarily as a corrosion by-product. Copper is a nutritionally essential element, but at high doses it causes gastric distress. Copper rarely occurs at concentrations high enough in
drinking water to pose health risks. In


California, the state is responsible for regulating the Safe Drinking Water Act. But since the state has not yet adopted the lead and copper rule, U.S. EPA has primary responsibility for enforcing the requirements of the rule.
 The violating systems and the counties where they are located are:
 County Public Water Systems
 Alameda California Water Service Co.
 Butte California Water Service Co.
 Corona City of Corona
 Fresno City of Clovis and City of Fresno
 Kern City of Bakersfield
 Los Angeles City of Alhambra; Compton Municipal Water
 Department; California Water Service Co.
 (two orders issued); City of Inglewood;
 Los Angeles County Water District No. 4 and
 No. 34; Lynwood City; Monterey Park Water
 Department; Palmdale Water District; Southern
 California Water Co.; and South Gate
 Water Department
 Merced City of Merced
 Napa City of Napa
 Orange Santa Ana City Utilities Agency; City of
 Fullerton; and City of Tustin
 Placer City of Roseville
 Placerville El Dorado Irrigation District
 Riverside City of Corona
 Sacramento Arcade Community Water District
 San Bernardino City of Chino; City of Ontario Public Service
 Agency; Redlands City Municipal Utilities
 District; and Upland City
 San Diego City of Oceanside
 San Joaquin City of Lodi
 San Mateo California Water Service Co. (two orders
 issued); Daly City Municipal Water Utilities
 District; and Redwood City
 Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Water Department
 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Public Works; Goleta Water
 District; and City of Santa Maria
 Torrance Torrance Municipal Water Department
 Ventura County Oxnard Water Department; Ventura Water Department;
 and Ventura County Water Works District
 Westminster Westminster Water Department
 -0- 10/16/92
 /CONTACT: Lois Grunwald of the U.S. EPA, 415-744-1588/ CO: U.S. EPA ST: California IN: SU:


SG-GT -- SF012 -- 1222 10/16/92 19:57 EDT
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Date:Oct 16, 1992
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