CA Among Worst for Drinking-Water Violations

May 11, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Water systems in California have the nation’s ninth-worst record for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Researchers pored over Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data from 2015 and found more than 1,900 violations in 832 different water systems that together serve 2.5 million people – in the Golden State alone.

Erik Olson, a report coauthor and director of the NRDC’s Health Program, said many of the violations are for water conditions that can make people sick, and listed a few of the concerns:

“These violations include failures to treat the water to get rid of pathogens; excessive levels of contaminants like arsenic or coliform bacteria; and failures to test the water to make sure that it is safe or to report results to ensure that it is safe,” he said.

Olson warned that failures in reporting sometimes hide major health problems, as they did in Flint, Mich. The report found across the country, 77 million people get water from systems that have violations.

President Donald Trump’s recent budget proposal calls for a 30-percent cut to the EPA, in the name of reducing burdensome regulations.

The NDRC report says the cuts would mean fewer staff to enforce the law, and a lot less money for grants to help smaller water systems afford needed improvements.

According to Jamie Consuegra, legislative director for NRDC’s Climate Program, eight out of 10 violations already result in no penalty at all.

“Despite the need for better and more enforcement of state drinking-water laws, the Trump proposal would actually reduce EPA’s enforcement by nearly a quarter,” said Consuegra.

The report concludes the U.S. would need to invest about $380 billion to bring its aging water system infrastructure into compliance with safety standards.


How to Get Kids to Drink More Water

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A new study offers a simple solution for getting kids to drink more water in schools or child-care settings: Make it more convenient.

Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco did an intervention study in 12 middle schools, giving some schools cold-water pitchers and some a cold-water dispenser. Those came with cups, signage and announcements. The rest just had their normal drinking fountains. The findings? About 20 percent more kids drank water in schools that served it cold, with cups.

Dr. Anisha Patel, an assistant professor in the division of general pediatrics at UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospital, said it’s an important finding, since most children don’t drink enough H20.

“Hydration status is associated with how students perform in school, their cognitive functioning,” she said. “It has no calories, no added sugar; it’s healthy.”

Water also helps fight obesity and cavities. A study done five years ago showed very few schools offer free water apart from their drinking fountains.

Patel said a recent federal law requires all school cafeterias to offer water free of charge. She said she hopes this study helps districts help their students make a healthier choice.

“This wasn’t a very expensive intervention. It cost, over time, about 4 cents per student, per day,” she said. “So that was an important finding from our study, because we know that a lot of schools are really struggling and don’t have funding to implement new programs.”

Patel said many schools in California now are opting to install “filling stations” for reusable water bottles.

The study is online at

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