OCWD Issues Vital Water Quality Data to Member Agencies

Every summer, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) requires community water systems to deliver a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) that provides information about local drinking water quality to their community. One of the first steps in the CCR process is for Orange County Water District Water Quality Department staff to complete and send out comprehensive packages of water quality data files for all groundwater monitoring conducted on behalf of the member agencies (producers) during the previous year.

During March, water quality files were prepared and sent to all 19 member large system groundwater producers and 10 small system groundwater producers to assist in preparing each system’s CCR. The CCR, also known as a water quality report, must be mailed to all water consumers by July 1.

OCWD’s Water Quality Department coordinates with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and its local representative, the Municipal Water District of Orange County, and producers to provide CCR information that includes the source of the drinking water, levels of any detected contaminants, and compliance with drinking water regulations (including monitoring requirements).  In addition, the CCR may provide educational information about public health and water conservation.

Quality Assurance—verification of OCWD’s water quality management efforts—is the prime directive of OCWD’s Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory. The Lab tests for more than 500 compounds, many more than the 106 regulated constituents that are required by state and federal laws and regulations.  It tests water from approximately 1,500 locations throughout the basin, analyzes more than 20,000 samples each year and reports more than 400,000 results.

The Lab is certified and audited by the State Water Resources Control Board through the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is also one of only three public agency labs in the nation that provides a full Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3) program, which is certified by the EPA. The UCMR3 program requires testing for 28 designated trace contaminants and constituents of emerging concern (CECs), which are evaluated by the EPA in developing future regulatory decisions.

OCWD can monitor contaminants in its groundwater basin down to a part-per-trillion. That is like looking for one drop of contaminant in a volume of water large enough to fill 26 Olympic-size pools.

Water Quality staff provides regional testing of more than 200 drinking water wells for 29 local drinking water providers to help them meet monitoring and reporting requirements mandated by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

The 2017 CCR information provided by OCWD’s Water Quality Department primarily includes water quality data for samples collected in 2016 and additional monitoring information for past monitoring programs such as the UCMR program.