Water quality

OCWD’s commitment to exceptional water quality requires comprehensive knowledge of groundwater quality and a thorough understanding of the quality of water produced by the Groundwater Replenishment System.

Given this commitment to protect and enhance the quality of the groundwater basin, the District implements a proactive, diverse and comprehensive groundwater and surface water monitoring program to continually generate real-time data. The District tests for more than 500 compounds, many more than 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. OCWD also provides regional testing of more than 200 drinking water wells for local drinking water providers to help them meet monitoring and reporting requirements mandated by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Please view the Member Agencies page to view water quality reports for agencies within the District's service area.

The District’s testing capabilities are quite an accomplishment. OCWD can monitor contaminants in its groundwater basin down to one part per trillion. That is like looking for one drop of contaminant in a volume of water large enough to fill 26 Olympic-size swimming pools—a rather remarkable feat!

OCWD has taken proactive measures to ensure high-quality and safe drinking water through extensive monitoring, participating in studies, forming work groups, and collaborating with agencies around the world to address and study water quality issues.

Groundwater is typically high-quality within the OCWD basin. Recharge basins and the river improve groundwater quality through natural percolation. Purifying recycled water to near-distilled water quality in OCWD’s celebrated Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) not only increases the water supply quantity, but enhances the quality of the water in the groundwater basin. The quality of groundwater is essential. When that is threatened, OCWD must develop plans and secure the funding needed to clean up areas of the basin that have been contaminated by industrial activities.

OCWD’s water quality priorities:

  • Protect public health.
  • Comply with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act .
  • Comply with California Title 22 regulations.
  • Protect quality of the groundwater basin for the short and the long term.
  • Maintain comprehensive knowledge of Orange County groundwater quality.
  • Maintain broad knowledge of industry water quality information, data, issues, and best practices.
  • Practice a conservative and proactive approach to water quality management.
  • Create and maintain confidence with respect to potable water reuse.
  • Take an anticipatory approach toward future regulations, water quality standards and desirable outcomes.
  • Follow GWRS monitoring practices that create comprehensive knowledge of output water quality, including assessing potential impacts on groundwater quality.
  • Construct and maintain groundwater monitoring wells.
  • Track trends in contaminant concentrations, anticipate future risks and address early.
  • Prevent groundwater quality threats from impacting drinking water wells.
  • Coordinate with other agencies to identify local sources of contamination and to limit and prevent release of contaminants.
  • Comply with government-approved cleanup processes.