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 “FreeSprinklerNozzles.com”.

Launched in partnership with Toro, and Western Municipal Water District last July, the FreeSprinklerNozzle.com 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 FreeSprinklerNozzles.com 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

Arbor Day Foundation Names RPU Tree Line USA Utility Provider

Riverside, Calif. – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) was named a Tree Line USA Utility Provider by the Arbor Day Foundation this month for its continued dedication to promoting proper tree planting and protecting trees in its service territory.

Through its Tree Line USA program, the Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes public and private utility providers that demonstrate best practices which protect and enhance America’s urban forests.  The goal of Tree Line USA is to promote safe, reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees in the community.

“Trees are an important part of urban landscapes all across the United States,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Utility providers like Riverside Public Utilities are setting a good example about the importance of taking care of a valuable community resource.”

For over a decade, RPU has encouraged customers to plant shade trees around their homes and businesses to reduce cooling costs and energy consumption, help the environment, and beautify the community. By providing rebates, and even free shade tree coupons during the month of March, more than 87,000 trees have been planted in Riverside by utility customers.

In addition to promoting planting the right tree in the right place, the utility’s year-round power line tree trimming program helps to reduce tree-related power outages and improves public safety.

March 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Free Shade Tree Coupon on Back of March RPU Bills

Free shade trees from RPU are back!Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) is once again offering its customers a chance to pick up a free shade tree by simply redeeming the coupon on the back of their March 2011 RPU billing statements at one of four participating Riverside nurseries.

Now in its tenth year, the Free Shade Tree program promotes the planting of shade trees that can help customers reduce their summer cooling costs while beautifying the city and providing environmental benefits.

Through its March free tree promotions and its year-round Tree Power program, which offers customers a chance to receive up to $125 in rebates on up to five additional shade trees each calendar year, more than 87,000 trees have been planted.

Annually, the shade trees planted to date save more than 13.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity, and offset over 17.2 million pounds of green house gases.  RPU hopes to reach the goal of planting 100,000 shade trees by the end of this year’s program.

Customers will have until June 30, 2011 to redeem their March utility bill coupons good for one free shade tree (up to $25 in value) at the following locations only: A&M Nursery, 10333 Arlington Avenue; Louie’s Nursery, 16310 Porter Avenue; Parkview Nursery, 4377 Chicago Avenue; and Parkview Nursery 3841 Jackson Street.

For additional information on this year’s Free Shade Tree Coupon and Tree Power programs, as well as tips for planting the right tree in the right place, visit www.RiversidePublicUtilities.com or call (951) 826-5485.

March 2, 2011 at 11:52 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 Drinktap.org
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



Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. – The Frontier Project Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the environmental challenges facing Southern California, has announced today that the City of Riverside has been selected as one of its 2010 Environmental Steward Award recipients. The Environmental Steward Awards were established by the foundation to recognize and honor individuals and organizations that encourage responsible use of natural resources and show a commitment to environmental restoration and a sustainable future.Riverside, led by Mayor Ronald Loveridge and the City Council, has long held a commitment toward creating a more sustainable city. In 2005, Loveridge organized the “Green & Clean Taskforce” a group of residents and city personnel who worked on creating the city’s Green Action Plan which set goals for city-wide sustainable best practices such as improved air quality, more renewable energy resources, energy and water conservation, and waste reduction programs.

Through these efforts, Riverside was designated the state’s first “Emerald City,” by the California Department of Conservation in 2009. “It is vital to recognize our roles as stewards of our community,” Loveridge said. “Rather than consume resources, we must use them wisely. We have shown that we can make an immediate impact and set an example for other communities.”

In addition to Riverside, the foundation will also recognize fellow 2010 Environmental Steward recipients Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Linda Ceballos, Environmental Programs Manager for the City of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Casey Dailey, Assistant to the Mayor of San Bernardino, CA; and the City of Rancho Cucamonga at its “Green Tie” awards ceremony on October 16.

December 4, 2010 at 12:39 am

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