Posts filed under ‘Blue Riverside News’

Riverside Water Conservation Program Receives 2010 Toro Watersmart Partner Award

Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) has been selected by local irrigation manufacturer The Toro Company to receive its 2010 Watersmart Partner Award for their innovative water conservation program “”.

Launched in partnership with Toro, and Western Municipal Water District last July, the web site provides free Toro Precision Series Spray Nozzles to Riverside water customers who log into the site. These patented sprinkler nozzles use less water than conventional nozzles and help customers reduce their outdoor water use and lower water bills.

The international Watersmart Partner Award is given out by Toro to a select few each year that have gone above and beyond in their efforts to conserve water in an unconventional way.  In deciding the winners Toro looks at innovative use of product, its community benefits, and how partners help build strong reputations with Toro and their products.

“Clearly the program fits the bill,” said Toro District Sales Manager John Crossley.  “We are honored to present this award to RPU for this unique program that benefits Riverside’s water customers and educates them on how easy it is to reduce their outdoor water use.”

Last year more than 42,000 water-saving sprinkler nozzles were given out through the program that will provide annual water savings of more than 60 million gallons. The 2011 campaign is now underway and is again providing free nozzles to both Riverside water customers and those from other Inland Empire water providers.


March 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Story from AWWA

Here’s an interesting story from American Water Works Association that’s directly relevant to the incorrect water story about Riverside from December 2009, and again this year. Thought this was interesting.

– From
Our readers may remember back in late 2009 when the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released an update to their Water Quality Database, and with much fanfare they also released a list of the top 100 best and worst cities for water safety. The report and the list generated a LOT of media coverage in national outlets such as the New York Times, Associated Press and MSNBC. Shortly thereafter the water community went to great pains to point out multiple discrepancies in the data used, and called its validity into question.

Unfortunately, it seems that those same media outlets don’t remember running that story. Many of them, including the AP and MSNBC, reran the same article last week.  Only this time it was a different group who claimed to have examined the data and come to the exact same conclusions as EWG – right down to the list of 100 best and worst cities (we can only imagine what EWG thought). Here at AWWA we noticed the discrepancy and tried to alert various media outlets (although to date we have not heard back from any of them).  It seems we weren’t the only ones.

For the rest of the article follow the link below:

February 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm

ABC News Article:Scientists Say No Need for Alarm Over Chromium-6 in Drinking Water

Hexavalent chromium, the chemical made famous by the 2000 film “Erin Brockovich,” is once again in the news after an environmental organization released a report indicating that the chemical has contaminated drinking water in more than 30 cities nationwide.

The Environmental Working Group tested tap water in 35 cities and found hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, in 31 of the cities.

Chromium-6 was the same chemical that had seeped into the groundwater of Hinkley, Calif., where Erin Brockovich waged her fight, and whose residents were awarded a $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The movie drew attention to the potential dangers of hexavalent chromium, and scientists at the Environmental Working Group say previous research found the chemical can cause cancer, and that its presence in drinking water is much more widespread than originally believed.

But as the Environmental Working Group stresses the potential dangers of chromium-6, other scientists say there’s no good science on just how much of an impact the chemical can have on public health.

“The National Toxicology Program has found that hexavalent chromium in drinking water shows clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in laboratory animals, increasing the risk of otherwise rare gastrointestinal tumors,” reads the report’s executive summary. The National Toxicology Program is a branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and considers hexavalent chromium a “probable carcinogen.”

“There have also been some other health effects seen in animal studies, such as anemia and damage to the lymph nodes, liver and gastrointestinal tract,” said Rebecca Sutton, the report’s lead researcher.

Sutton also said she was surprised by the number of cities that had contaminated water.

“I expected to find it in some cities, but had no indication I would find it in others,” she said.

Regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency set a total chromium limit of 100 ppb, or parts per billion, for drinking water. However, there is no set limit for chromium-6, and water utility companies are not required to test for it. California is the only state that mandates testing, and that state’s legal limit for chromium-6 in drinking water is .06 ppb. Sutton and her colleagues found that 25 of the 31 cities with chromium-6 contaminated water had levels higher than that amount.

Norman, Okla., the city with the highest concentration of chromium-6, measured about 200 times that level, with a concentration of about 12 ppb.

But other scientists say that’s an extremely small amount. One part per billion is equivalent to about a drop in 250 gallon drums of water, or three seconds in a century. Even if a city such as Norman has the highest concentration of chromium-6 of all the cities tested, that doesn’t mean it places the residents at a higher risk for developing cancer than in other cities.

Dangers of Chromium-6 in Drinking Water Unknown

Toxicology experts say inhaling chromium-6 can cause cancer, but there isn’t much data on the dangers of drinking it.

“The evidence is fairly good that it’s carcinogenic in people in occupational settings who inhale it and get a good dose,” said Dr. Shan Yin, assistant medical director of the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center.

“No one has really established what is a carcinogenic level for drinking water,” said Alfred Aleguas, managing director at the Northern Ohio Poison Control Center in Cleveland. “We need to establish what is a limit we have to be concerned about.”

Aleguas also said that the levels of exposure in Hinkley were much higher — 580 ppb — than the 31 ppb the Environmental Working Group found in Norman, Okla., the city with the highest concentration of chromium-6 in the group’s report.

Most unintentional chromium exposure comes from industrial processes, such as leather tanning and metal plating. It’s also a naturally occurring substance.

Chromium-3 is a nontoxic form of chromium that is vital to the body’s glucose metabolism. But while there’s still debate over how much chromium-6 is too much, the EPA said in a statement that it’s currently assessing the impact of chromium-6 on public health. The final scientific review will be available sometime next year, and the EPA will determine if a new level needs to be set.

December 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Riverside’s Water Chromium is 20 Times Lower Than MCL


Riverside, Calif. – “Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) water has levels of total chromium that are significantly less than the state and federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs),” said RPU General Manager David H. Wright.

In fact, as cited in the RPU 2009 Water Quality Report, Riverside’s water averaged 2.0 parts per billion (ppb) for chromium 6, with a testing range of 1.6 to 2.3 ppb during system-wide tests in 2009. “That is much lower than the California MCL of 50 ppb and the federal MCL of 100 ppb,” Wright said.

There is currently no separate state or federal MCL solely for hexavalent chromium, one of two types of chromium typically found in water.  A Washington D.C. lobbying group, which is pushing for stricter hexavalent chromium guidelines, listed Riverside’s water in a recent report among 35 systems tested. 

“While many water providers are well within the enforceable state and federal guidelines for total chromium, the proposed state guidelines that deal specifically with hexavalent chromium are a unique challenge for California water agencies,” said David H. Wright, General Manager of Riverside Public Utilities.

One of the reasons is that chromium, including hexavalent chromium, is naturally occurring and has shown up for centuries in groundwater supplies like those Riverside relies on. Most water agencies in California’s Inland Empire region report MCLs’ for total chromium in the 1-3 ppb range. Another reason is that regulatory tests can’t currently detect the chemical at a level below 1 ppb.

The new California public health goal for hexavalent chromium is proposed to be 0.06 parts per billion, a substantial shift in the regulation of this chemical. While not enforceable, a public health goal is used to determine the enforceable maximum contaminant level (MCL) for a chemical, which is enforceable.

The proposed public health goal from the state Environmental Protection Agency represents a dramatic increase in efforts to regulate hexavalent chromium, which also is known as chromium 6 or CR VI. However, according to the state EPA, the public health goal is not a boundary line between a “safe” and “unsafe” level in drinking water.

The public health goal seeks to establish a level that would not cause significant health effects after drinking two liters of water with that level of chromium 6 over a 70-year period. A public health goal does not take into account such factors as the cost of treating all water to that standard or the technological limits in reaching that standard. The maximum contaminant level is enforceable and does take into account other factors, such as economics.

“The bottom line information for our customers is that Riverside’s water, is reliable, safe, and meets or surpasses all state and federal drinking water quality standards,” Wright said.

December 20, 2010 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

High Efficiency Toilets Saving Millions

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – City of Riverside officials are touting recently installed high-efficiency toilets as modern day misers of water.  They are saving millions of precious gallons in a program aimed at multi-family dwellings and hotels.

The Western Municipal Water District’s high-efficiency toilet installation program ended in June.

“Riverside Public Utilities urged some of their biggest water customers to take advantage of this program before it ended,” said City Councilmember Rusty Bailey and chair of the city’s Utility Services/Land Use Committee.  “Eight of their customers installed 976 toilets in 13 different locations.  The savings will be more than 13 million gallons with the first year and it didn’t cost the city or the customers anything.”

Customers included the Mission Inn, the University of California – Riverside, Mount Rubidoux Manor and the Quality Inn of Riverside.

Councilmember Bailey estimated that the total annual dollars savings for these customers will be $40,000.

“These toilets will save 270 million gallons of water over the next 20 years,” he continued.  “It’s not only water we’re saving.  It may also be saving a future for the next generation.”

September 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm