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Test Results Show No Signs of Pesticides in SFPUC Water Sources
Series of water quality examinations conducted in abundance of caution following concerns of water quality in Sunset District
Posted Date: 10/18/2018 11:00 AM
October 18, 2018

San Francisco, CA—After conducting an extensive series of water quality tests, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has concluded that no pesticides are present in the water being delivered to San Francisco customers.

Earlier this month, some residents in the Sunset District noticed a change in taste and odor in their tap water, prompting them to use a home water quality testing kit. Some of the kits reportedly detected pesticides in the water. In response, the SFPUC collected more than 20 water samples, including ones from wells, distribution monitoring points, a customer home test kit site, area schools and Sunset Reservoir. The samples were sent to an independent lab, which confirmed that no pesticides were found. At no time during this process was the water unsafe to drink.

“Protecting the public health is our top priority and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “These independent test results confirm what our rigorous testing and monitoring program continues to show—that the water we deliver to customers meets and often exceeds drinking water standards. We appreciate that our residents care deeply about the City’s water supply and we look forward to a continued dialogue with the community.”

Commitment to Professional and Rigorous Water Quality Testing

The SFPUC regularly collects and tests water from designated sampling points throughout its system to ensure that the water deliver to residents meets or exceeds states and federal standards. Last year, the SFPUC conducted more than 100,000 drinking water tests, in addition to the extensive daily treatment process carried out by certified operators and monitored by online instruments.

“I am glad that the SFPUC took residents’ concerns seriously and conducted additional testing,” said District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang, whose district includes the Sunset neighborhood. “Residents should rest assured that the water delivered to their tap is safe to drink.”

The Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System includes six sources of surface water. The major source of surface water is Hetch Hetchy Reservoir located in Yosemite National Park. That source is supplemented with surface water from two Bay Area watersheds and stored in five local reservoirs. Additionally, starting in April 2017, the SFPUC began blending groundwater intermittently into the regional water supply. On average, groundwater makes up less than 1 percent of the water delivered to customers.

Learn More: Map of all areas of the City that receive groundwater

Blending Multiple Sources of Drinking Water

Changing the blend of water from SFPUC’s reservoirs, even slightly, may result in potentially noticeable changes in taste. Even though changes in taste can be detected, the quality of water delivered meets all regulatory standards.

While it typically doesn’t mean there’s a health risk, residents should report any concerns with the taste, odor and color of the drinking water to 311. Those reports will be sent to the SFPUC, which will conduct a thorough review process of the water supply. Home water testing kit results can vary wildly and produce less-than-complete information.

A full report of the independent lab results can be found here