San Gabriel Valley Water Company customers in the Baldwin Park and La Puente areas were advised Saturday it was again safe to drink their tap water after a failure at a groundwater treatment facility earlier this week contaminated the system with perchlorate.
After officials issued a warning not to drink water following the discovery of the contamination Thursday, San Gabriel Valley Water Company President Bob Nicholson said Saturday morning that the system has been flushed of the toxic chemical.
“We got the sample results back indicating the water is clean,” he said Saturday morning.
Officials distributed notices door-to-door notifying affected residents not to drink or cook with tap water until further notice after the problem was detected.
“San Gabriel Valley Water Company’s water system in and around Baldwin Park and La Puente has high levels of perchlorate,” the utility said in a public notice, which was distributed door-to-door to affected customers.
“Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not reduce the perchlorate level,” the water company’s public alert said. Excessive boiling can even cause the perchlorate levels to become more concentrated.
Perchlorate is an inorganic chemical commonly used to make rocket fuel, fireworks, explosives, matches similar items.
Utility workers immediately shut down the water supply from the affected well — one of 35 in the utility’s system — however the remnants of perchlorate contamination had to be flushed out of the system before the water could be declared safe, Nicholson said.
Water was being re-directed from other wells within the system as officials continued making repairs to the malfunctioning groundwater treatment facility, he added.
San Gabriel Water Company officials were preparing to distribute bottled water Saturday in case of an unforeseen increase in the length of the service disruption, Nicholson said, however the problem was resolved before that became necessary.
According to the utility, the “temporary consumption” of perchlorate at the levels detected in the system do not pose a health risk to people or pets.