10:23 AM PDT on Friday, September 21, 2007
By DAVID DANELSKI
New state regulations setting a legal limit for the chemical perchlorate in public drinking water will go into effect Oct. 19, forcing millions of dollars in cleanup efforts.
The rule became official after it passed the scrutiny of the state Office of Administrative Law and was signed Wednesday by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, said a spokeswoman for Bowen's office.
The rule allows no more than 6 parts perchlorate per billion parts of tap water.
Perchlorate is a chemical used in rocket fuel, fireworks and other explosives. Although it has contaminated dozens of Inland wells, most area water providers already meet the new state standard.
But one San Bernardino-area water district faces about $30 million in cleanup costs.
Water delivered to East Valley Water District customers this year averaged slightly more than the new limit. Perchlorate concentrations have reached as high as 8.6 parts per billion, district officials said last month.
The district provides water to about 70,000 people in eastern San Bernardino, Highland and unincorporated areas nearby.
Ron Buchwald, the district's engineer, said last month that East Valley will seek state and federal grants to help pay for removing perchlorate from its water supplies.
Buchwald could not be reached Thursday for comment.
The state regulations require the district to warn customers about the potential health effects of consuming perchlorate.
The chemical can disrupt the thyroid gland's ability to absorb iodide and make hormones that guide brain and nerve development of fetuses and babies. The hormones also control metabolism.
Pregnant women and iodide-deficient women are more vulnerable to the chemical's ill effects, studies have found.
Defense industries, fireworks factories, fertilizers and other sources have been blamed for Inland perchlorate contamination. Fertilizer is the suspected source in the Highland area.
Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
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September 22, 2007