As expected, the California Department of Public Health issued a stricter standard for how much hexavalent chromium can be in drinking water, taking the limit down to 10 parts per billion, the country’s lowest. The change, which goes into effect on July 1, quickly triggered a lawsuit from the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and the Solano County Taxpayers Association, calling the move “baseless and extremely costly for taxpayers .” Those sentiments have also been echoed by the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District and other smaller water treatment agencies in that valley, where hexavalent chromium occurs naturally. Increased treatment could cause water costs to rise by more than 50 percent, though customers at the smaller agencies could use at-home treatment systems. More lawsuits are expected. “Chrome 6,” as its known, rose to global attention in the 1990s, when legal clerk Erin Brockovich fought against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for using the chemical, which seemed to cause cancer.


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