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volume 2 - resource management Strategies

Number of systems

Population served (millions)

54 73 127

9.5 3.0 12.5



Table 14-4 Fluoridation in California

Public water systems providing optimal fluoridation Systems adding fluoride to the optimal level Systems receiving fluoridated water at the optimal level Total systems implementing optimal fluoridation Public water systems providing variable fluoridation Systems providing fluoridated water at variable levels Note: Information obtained from the CDPH (2009)

fluoride at the appropriate prophylactic level. Other water systems provide variable fluoridation at levels up to optimal level depending on many factors, including time of year, water demand, and the use of sources that may not have fluoridation treatment facilities. Variable fluoridation is most often the result of a water system receiving fluoridated water from a wholesale provider, while also using local unfluoridated water sources. Information on the number of public water systems that are providing fluoridation in California is shown in Table 14-4.


Both the USEPA and CDPH have ongoing programs for improving public health through new or more stringent drinking water regulations. These regulations include monitoring requirements, maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in the water provided to the customer, multi-barrier, treatment requirements, permitting requirements, public notification and more. These regulations include specific maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for constituents of health concern that are found to be present in drinking water sources. In California, new drinking water standards—the MCLs—are adopted only after development of a Public Health Goal (PHG), which is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. PHGs are set by the California Environmental Protection Agency MCLs take into account not only chemicals’ health risks but also factors such as their detectability and treatability, as well as costs of treatment. California Health & Safety Code requires CDPH to establish a contaminant’s MCL at a level as close to its PHG as is technically and economically feasible, placing primary emphasis on the protection of public health.

As an example of the adoption of a more stringent drinking water regulation, in 2003, the USEPA adopted a reduced MCL of 10 micrograms per liter (ug/L) for arsenic. The previous MCL had been 50 ug/L. The new MCL is based primarily on carcinogenic effects. CDPH is moving toward adopting the arsenic MCL for California by proposing in July 2008 an MCL for arsenic of 10 ug/L, the same as the federal standard. The PHG for arsenic was set at 0.004 ug/L.


caLifoRnia WateR PLan | update 2009

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