Water: The local treatment system produces good quality drinking water for Santa Monica residents. Courtesy image

Santa Monica’s drinking water continues to meet or exceed all safety standards but the persistent drought is an ongoing concern for local water officials.

According to the annual water quality report, local drinking water met all federal and state standards last year.

Pollution sources vary but can include naturally present material, soil runoff, industrial waste and corrosion of pipes and Santa Monica has experienced water contamination in the past. Two wells were shut due to pollution from gas stations that allowed Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) to leech into the system and after decades of work filtration systems were eventually put in place in 2010 to solve the problem.

In this year’s report, MTBE levels were undetectable in the local supply.

The city’s total water supply comes from three sources, groundwater (from the Santa Monica Basin), imported water (from the Colorado River) and runoff recycled from storm drains. While recycled water is used for irrigation, it’s not part of the drinking supply.

Aesthetic standards are also measured in the report and while they do not have safety implications, officials said the measurements of odor, color or taste compromising elements are important as they generate complaints from residents. Santa Monica’s water met all standards for the aesthetic category.

In addition to the normal water quality measurements, local officials also provided information on Covid contamination in the water supply saying the pandemic causing disease can’t survive in the municipal water supply.

“According to the U.S. EPA and CDC, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies,” said the report. “Current research shows no evidence that COVID-19 virus can be spread to people by consuming treated drinking water. Filtration and disinfection methods used in water treatment plants remove and kill viruses, bacteria and pathogens.”

City Hall has had a long-term goal of establishing self-sufficiency and eventually eliminating water imports but the persistent drought has hampered those efforts.

“If there’s no rain, it’s hard for the city to be self-sustaining,” said Water Quality Analyst Oscar Teller. “It’s not like we have a good amount of rain every year so the aquifers are just not recharging like we’d want them to.”

Teller said residents should take water-saving messages to heart.

“Use your water wisely and try to conserve it as much as possible,” he said.

The City of Santa Monica is still offering incentives for environmentally-friendly measures taken by the community. For more information, call or visit the Office of Sustainability website at www.smgov.net/water.