The 2010 Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Water Quality Report landed in local mailboxes this past week.
The report talks about the water’s journey to us from the High Sierra, the Colorado River and the California Aqueduct, and the filtration, ozone treatment, chlorination and fluoridation it goes through.
Water in our city is tested 240,000 times a year. It is very low in contaminants, although the report does warn of minuscule pharmaceutical and personal care product traces in the water. It urges us to put shampoos and excess medication in the trash and not flush them down the toilet.
Until I spoke to the senior assistant general manager for water at LADWP, James McDaniel, I always thought that Los Angeles tap water didn’t taste as good as that in Boston or New York, but he urged me to simply let the water sit in the fridge so that the chlorine used as a disinfectant has a chance to dissipate. It improves the water’s taste while conserving, because you don't have to run the tap until the water gets cold.
When I raised the question of filtering the water, McDaniel said that the LADWP brings only fresh water into people's homes but he acknowledged that some residential plumbing could add contaminants that could justify using a filter.
Overall, the water quality reaching us is great. If we simply filtered and let it sit in the refrigerator we could cut out those vast mounds of plastic bottles that people buy and sometimes don't recycle.
The LADWP needs all the good news it can get as General Manager Ron Nichols kicks off a two-month educational outreach campaign to explain why Angelenos could see their water bills zoom by 15 percent and their power bills up by 17 percent over the next three years.
As this process shapes up, it’s good that the public voted to establish the position of to look out for our interests.