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Barstow residents warned not to drink water

November 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Barstow residents were warned Friday not to drink local tap water until further notice due to chemical contamination. Some restaurants in the town closed and the local water company handed out hundreds of bottles of clean water to residents.Golden State Water Company issued the warning Friday after discovering Thursday that water samples contained levels of perchlorates higher than the maximum containment level of 6 parts per billion.

Residents were warned not to consume any ice, water, beverages or formula prepared with tap water.

Perchlorate is an inorganic chemical used in solid rocket propellant, fireworks, explosives, flares, matches, and a variety of industries.

Residents were told not to boil the water, as that process does not reduce the chemical level. Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not reduce the levels of perchlorate in the water. Boiling water can actually increase the concentration of the chemical in the water by reducing the H2O content.

Residents were advised Barstow water may still be used for non-drinking purposes, such as showering and washing.

Perchlorate interferes with the human thyroid gland, affecting hormones as well as prenatal growth during pregnancies.

Golden State Water Co. is investigating the source of the contamination. Water is usually tainted by perchlorate from industrial or aerospace facilities.

Water bottles were available free to the public at at Barstow College, 2700 Barstow Rd., according to Golden State Water Co. A water-distribution list was expected to be posted by the company Friday night or Saturday morning.

Golden State Water Co. is investigating the source of the contamination. Water is usually tainted by perchlorate from industrial or aerospace facilities.

City of Barstow website

Golden State Water Co. Barstow Community Service Area

The Desert Dispatch contributed to this report.


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