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What is done to purify the water before it comes out of the tap?
Water that comes from rivers, lakes and streams goes through many steps of treatment and checkpoints before it is ready to drink. The water is screened to remove larger materials, run though very fine filters and then disinfected to kill germs. The water is checked throughout the system to make sure that it meets all regulations.
Who is making sure that my water is safe and healthy to drink?
California has very strict laws regulating the quality of tap water. Local utilities must made sure that your water meets these requirements. Southern California utilities have an excellent record for delivering water that is as good as or better than required. If for some reason your water does not meet the health and safety regulations, you will be notified immediately. Each of us also has a responsibility to take care of the drinking water on our property. For example, if you use a water filter, make sure you change the filter often so bacteria does not grow inside and spoil the water. Clean out your older plumbing or drains properly so that your water doesn't collect odd smells, tastes or colors. While a funny color, taste or smell usually doesn't mean your water is unsafe, you still may want to correct the problem.
Who should I call if I have a problem with my tap water?
Contact the Santa Fe Irrigation District at 858-756-2424.
How do I treat water during an emergency?
Get information on how to
treat water during an emergency.
How do I handle water emergencies?
Water is vital to everyday life, necessary for health and should never be taken for granted. It is very important to be prepared for water emergencies
they occur. Earthquakes, floods, high winds, droughts and forest or brush fires are events that can create water emergencies. Likewise, broken water mains, power outages, treatment plant breakdowns, and failure of storage tanks or equipment are considered "water system" emergencies.
Learn how to shut off the main water valve to your house. Make sure you know the location of the valve; have the necessary tools to operate it; and mark it with fluorescent paint or tape for locating the valve in the dark.
Purchase bottled water or store water in clean, unbreakable containers that can be properly sealed or capped after filling. It is recommended to have at least one gallon of water per person and per pet per day, and store enough water for three to five days.
Keep water stored in a cool areas away from direct sunlight. Water should be replaced every six to eight months.
If you must use tap water during an emergency, make sure your water has been disinfected by boiling it for 5 minutes or you can use water-disinfecting tablets (4 per gallon), tincture of iodine (12 drops per gallon) or liquid chlorine (8 to 10 drops per gallon). After treatment, mix the water thoroughly and let it stand for 30 minutes before use.
How do I flush my household pipes?
A bleachy or chemical taste and odor in the water in your home or business is often caused by accumulation of organic material in the plumbing. This organic material can be eliminated by flushing your water pipes. This procedure is outlines in the following steps:
1) Remove the screens (aerators) from the ends of the indoor faucets and run all of the faucets wide open and simultaneously for 3 to 5 minutes.
2) Flush the toilets 2 or 3 times each while faucets are running. Running all the water faucets and toilets simultaneously generates a large flow of water through the pipes and will hopefully dislodge any buildup of organic material that is causing the taste and odor problem. Removing the aerators before flushing the plumbing will prevent anything dislodged from plugging the screens.
3) After 3 to 5 minutes of flushing, turn off the water faucets, clean the aerators, and reinstall aerators on the ends of the faucets.
Is there lead in my water?
Santa Fe Irrigation District has sampled selected sites in its distribution system as well as the treated water it receives from the Metropolitan Water District and the R. E. Badger Filtration Plant. Lead levels in collected samples have been very low and therefore comply with state and federal drinking water standards. Lead solder was banned in 1986. This change means that inside plumbing in newer houses and apartments should not have a lead problem. Santa Fe Irrigation District does not have lead connections in its water delivery system, and follows regulations that prevent lead from leaching into the water supply.
Lead may be an issue for customers with brass or bronze faucets, or for those living in older houses and apartments where lead solder was used in the plumbing system. Both brass and bronze contain lead, which can leach into water. Lead levels are highest when the tap is first turned on, as that water has the most contact with the faucet, pipe and fittings. Letting the water run for a few minutes will help flush any water that may have higher levels of lead.
Is there fluoride in my water?
Fluoride occurs naturally in sources of tap water. Many water utilities in other parts of the country add more fluoride to their water. It is not as common in California. Drinking water with the right amount of fluoride has been shown to reduce the risk of cavities, especially for children. The District does not add fluoride to the water supplied to customers.
Can pregnant women drink tap water?
If you are pregnant and have any questions about drinking water straight from the tap, talk to your doctor. You can refer to our consumer confidence report for specific information on the quality of water you receive.
Can people with HIV/AIDs or weakened immune systems drink tap water?
Water utilities must meet over 120 different drinking water requirements for tap water. People with severely weakened immune systems are not always protected by these standards because requirements are based on reducing risks for people in good health. For example, a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium can cause a life-threatening illness for people with weakened immune systems. The chance of finding Cryptosporidium in water served by Southern California utilities is quite small. However, people with severely weakened immune systems should talk to their doctor about possible alternatives to tap water.
Do I need to purchase a home treatment device to make my tap water safe?
Learn about purchasing a
home treatment device.
Should I boil my water?
It is not necessary to boil tap water as it already meets strict state and federal regulations for quality. On very rare occasions, the local health department or Santa Fe Irrigation District may issue a notice to boil water after an earthquake or other emergency. Customers with severely weakened immune systems or those advised by their doctor may also need to boil their tap water.
Do I need a water softener?
Water softeners do not make tap water safer–they simply remove the dissolved minerals that make water hard but not harmful. The hardness of water is different throughout Southern California and depends on the water source. Before purchasing a water softener, make sure it has a salt efficiency rating of no less than 4,000 grains of hardness removed per pound of salt used in regeneration. Softer water has both good and bad features. Benefits include a softer feel to hair and skin, the need to use less dish soap and laundry detergent (because soap lathers more quickly in soft water), and less mineral deposits in pipes and on pots and pans, glasses and cars. However, water softeners add sodium to the water, which may be a concern for people on sodium-restricted diets.
Should I buy bottled water or water at vending machines or water stores?
Bottled water sold in stores or from vending machines costs many times more per gallon than tap water and it is not necessarily any safer to drink. Every source of water, whether it is tap water or bottled water, must meet very strict health requirements. Customers who choose to purchase bottled water should ask about the source of the water and the bottler’s treatment system. Those with health concerns should ask what specific contaminants the treatment process removes.
Why does my water sometimes look dirty, cloudy or have a strange color?
Learn why your water may appear
dirty, cloudy, or a strange color.
Why does my water leave spots on my glasses, coffeepot and showerhead?
When water is heated, cooled, or evaporated, minerals in the water may leave harmless white spots on glasses, coffeepots, and showerheads. Vinegar can be effective in removing these spots - soak showerheads in a bowl of vinegar and fill coffeepots with vinegar and soak overnight. Be sure to rinse well before using. There are also store products that can be purchased for preventing spots on glasses.
How can I find out what's in my water?
Every year the Santa Fe Irrigation District publishes and mails to all customers an Annual Customer Confidence Report. This free report provides the results of tests conducted by the District to assure that your water meets federal and state drinking water regulations. It also explains where your water comes from and includes other useful information. The report is available in English and Spanish. To request a hard copy, please call 858-756-2424, or download a copy from our Documents section of this website.
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