Turlock residents impacted by nitrate groundwater contamination will soon be supplied with safe drinking water as the state seeks out more permanent solutions.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is leading the charge on a program which will provide bottled water deliveries or bottle-filling kiosks to six geographic zones deemed to have the most-serious groundwater contamination issues.
The Turlock Subbasin has been identified as a Priority 1 zone by the board and is one of the two largest zones included in the program. The Valley Water Collaborative recently established the Turlock Management Zone to achieve three nitrate management goals as part of the Board’s Nitrate Control Program: ensuring a safe drinking water supply, reducing nitrate loading and implementing long-term, managed restoration of impaired water bodies.
The NCP was developed in 2018 in response to widespread increases of nitrates in groundwater.
“In these plans, many permittees in the valley have committed to both fixing their nitrate problems and to providing clean drinking water to affected communities while their efforts are underway,” said Patrick Pulupa, executive officer of the Central Valley Water Board. “These plans represent a significant milestone toward ensuring that residents of the valley have access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water.”
Nitrate in drinking water can lead to serious health outcomes, especially for infants and pregnant women. It is considered a risk to human health when it is above 10 parts per million (ppm) of nitrate nitrogen, which is the primary maximum contaminant level (MCL), also known as the nitrate drinking water standard.
Via an interactive map on the VWC’s website (www.valleywaterc.org), it’s clear that many areas in Turlock which utilize wells are above 10 ppm.
Through the Interim Replacement Water Program, the VWC will provide immediate alternative sources of drinking water for residences that depend on groundwater that contains unsafe levels of nitrate used for drinking and cooking. To qualify for either water bottle delivery or the installation of a Point-of-Use treatment system in their home, residents must live in the Turlock Management Zone, be willing to sign an agreement with the service provider and show that their well has unsafe nitrate levels.
Those who are unsure if their well is contaminated can contact the VWC by phone at 209-750-3867 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community meetings will continue during implementation to gain further input from residents on temporary solutions included in the program and development of long-term drinking water solutions. Once the program is launched on May 7, residences in the Management Zone can apply for well testing and replacement water on the VWC website. Anyone who signs up now to be included on the VWC email list to receive community notifications will be contacted when the program begins.