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Mar 23

USA Today article mistakenly reports local water quality concern

Posted on March 23, 2016 at 5:12 pm by Clay Curtin

Update
An error in a state database was identified as the source of the incorrect information. This data is provided quarterly to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule. The state database has now been corrected and the information reported to the EPA to reflect compliance.

USA Today reports:
“While the EPA database provides the best available nationwide, public list of water systems that tested above the action-level threshold for lead contamination, it is imperfect, as are most large data sets…”

Original story
The City was recently informed of a USA Today article about lead in water systems, where it was reported that Menlo Park had a test result of 76.9 ppb (parts per billion) for lead at one source. It appears that the reporting may be in error.  

As with all water providers, Menlo Park Municipal Water District is required to perform lead and copper monitoring every three years. In 2012, samples were taken from household taps as required by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule. The district’s 90th percentile lead results were 2 ppb, well below the lead action level of 15 ppb. The district’s 90th percentile copper results were 76.9 ppb, well below the copper action level of 1300 ppb. We believe the USA Today article may have mistakenly reported the 90th percentile copper results instead of the 90th percentile lead results. We intend to reach out to USA Today to seek a clarification regarding the data source for the article.

Water quality testing results are published in the annual Consumer Confidence Report, which was made available to all water customers last summer. Menlo Park Municipal Water District customers should rest assured that their water system meets all applicable State and Federal safe drinking water requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Public Works Director Justin Murphy.

2015 Consumer Confidence Report Water Quality