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Riverside Public Utilities: Our water is safe

December 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) officials want to reassure the public that Riverside's tap water is safe to drink. The statement comes in reaction to a recent Internet blog that placed Riverside's drinking water among the worst in the nation.

In a news release issued Monday, officials called the report "plain wrong."

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a watchdog nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., released the report Saturday, ranking Riverside No. 2 on a list of cities with the worst water in the nation.

RPU says the group used information from more than 91,000 tests provided by RPU itself. The report indicated that traces of 35 chemicals were found in source wells over the last five years.

However, RPU Assistant General Manager Kevin Milligan says the survey used samples from groundwater sources, before the water was actually treated for consumption, as required by the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Bottom line: Riverside's water is safe to drink and meets or surpasses state and federal water quality requirements," said Milligan. "The people of Riverside should know that Riverside Public Utilities does not dump untreated water into their faucets. ... I drink it every day. My children drink it and we have no plans to change."

"It appears this EWG organization, which has never actually been here, can't tell the difference between ground water and tap water," said RPU General Manager David Wright, stating that Riverside's water has never had a water quality violation.

As for Riverside County, it was No. 4 on the list from the EWG, but according to a report from the L.A. Times, Peter Odencrans of the Eastern Municipal Water District also said much of the water quality data from his agency was also for untreated supplies.

"We don't feel there's anything in our water supply that we deliver to people that could cause any harm," Odencrans told the Times.


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