Like other public water agencies in Los Angeles County, Lomita Water depends on two sources of water. Approximately 35-40% of our domestic water supply is groundwater pumped from the West Coast Basin, and the remainder is imported water purchased from the West Basin Municipal Water District, which purchases directly from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).
Our water comes from the Colorado River, Northern California and local groundwater, with the mix varying throughout the year. The groundwater is pumped from hundreds of feet below the ground. That pumping process can sometimes result in aeration, or the mixing of air with water. Aeration creates small bubbles in the water that are harmless, but may give the water a cloudy appearance. This mixing of air into the water is also very common with the Metropolitan Water District aqueducts that typically run very full during the summer months.
Tip: If your water looks cloudy, pour some water into a clear glass and let it sit for a minute. As the air bubbles leave the water, the cloudiness will generally disappear. If the cloudiness does not clear, call Lomita Water at (310) 325-7110.
Absolutely not! Bottled water and tap water are regulated by different agencies. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the main federal law that ensures the quality of your tap water.
Under SDWA, the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) sets standards for drinking water quality and mandates that water purveyors provide customers with a printed water quality report each year. The water provided to you by Lomita is clean, pure and ready to drink at a fraction of the cost of bottled water.
Before choosing an alternative to tap water, compare the data contained in the Lomita Water Annual Water Quality Report with water quality data from the bottled water or filtration device you are considering. The decision to use bottled water or a filtration system should be based on taste or other aesthetic considerations, not due to health or safety concerns.
Water hardness refers to the mineral content in the water, largely made up of calcium and magnesium. The City’s water supply is generally between 260 and 300 ppm.
Although the hardness of the water does not affect its safety, the higher mineral content can cause white spots on glasses in the dishwasher, white film on the walls of the shower, and mineral buildup on faucets. Lomita receives water from the Colorado River, Northern California and local groundwater. Northern California water is “softer” but, due to the ongoing drought, the amount of Northern California water that Lomita receives has been minimal to none. Colorado River water and local groundwater tend to be similar in hardness.
If you are concerned with hard water and spotting, it is best to read the owner’s manual for your appliances and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding settings for hard water. Some other tips that may help reduce spotting include using more cold water instead of hot, varying the brand and type of rinse agent and detergent and adding white vinegar to the rinse cycle of the dishwasher.
We realize that some customers do not care for the “hard” (high mineral content) water many areas of Southern California receive. If you opt for a water softener for your home, there are a few things to be aware of.
Self-regenerating water softeners, the kind that requires rock salt, potassium or other material to be added periodically by the homeowner, are discouraged. The reason is simple. Los Angeles County recycles its wastewater and the salty water discharged by self-regenerating water softeners is not always removed during the reclamation process at the treatment plant. The more self-regenerating water softeners used in Lomita, the saltier recycled water in our County becomes. Recycled water is used to irrigate some parks, school yards and golf courses, among other things, and the grass and plants cannot always tolerate the high salt content.
There is an environmentally friendly option. If you desire soft water in your home, we encourage you to subscribe to a water softener service that picks up and exchanges the cylinder so the salt does not go down the drain. You’ll find several water softening services listed in the Yellow Pages or on the internet. (The City does not make recommendations on which softening services to use) Additionally, hooking up a water softener only to the hot water lines may save you money.
Fluoride has been added to United States drinking water supplies since 1945. Of the 50 largest cities in the country, 43 add fluoride to their drinking water. In late 1995, the State of California passed a law (AB 733) requiring the California Department of Public Health to adopt regulations that require the fluoridation of the water of any public water system with at least 10,000 service connections when and if the state provided funding. While this funding was never made available, Metropolitan Water District (MWD) started adding fluoride to drinking water in order to prevent tooth decay. In line with recommendations from the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, MWD adjusted the natural fluoride level in imported treated water from the Colorado River and State Project water to the optimal range for dental health of 0.7 to 1.3 parts per million.
While there may be some naturally occurring fluoride in our groundwater, Lomita does not add fluoride to its drinking water supplies. The fluoride content in water imported from the Colorado River and Northern California averages 0.8 parts per million, and the amount received at your home will vary depending on the mix of groundwater that you receive. Questions about MWD’s fluoridation policy may be directed to MWD directly at http://www.mwdh2o.com/.
Regular filters and boiling will not remove fluoride, but fluoride can be removed using a reverse osmosis system.
Odors in water can be caused by many sources. It is necessary to narrow down the source of the odor in order to correctly diagnose its cause. For example, does the odor seem to come from all taps in your home, or just one? Do you notice it outside the home (e.g. at the hose bib)? If it’s coming from just one tap, the problem is likely originating from the sink drain and not the tap itself. This odor is commonly caused by material such as hair or food particles in the drain area. To get rid of the odor, try pouring about a half cup of liquid bleach into the drain. To prevent odors from returning, routinely flush drains with a small amount of bleach once a month or so.
Is the problem tap one that is seldom used (such as a guest bathroom)? Or, if the whole house is involved, did you recently return from vacation? Often when a sink or shower is not used for a period of time, the material in the drain remains odorless until water is first turned on. When water hits the built-up material, odor can be generated. Use the same bleach flushing suggestion as above.
If the smell seems to come from all sinks, take a glass of water from a sink into another room without water, such as your living room. Is the odor still present? If not, the problem is with the drains. Use the same suggestion outlined above for all affected drains.
Still having the issue? Is the odor coming from both hot and cold water? If it’s coming from just the hot water, your water heater or water system may need flushing. This (along with older household piping, including galvanized piping) is the most common cause of this type of odor in household water systems. Annual flushing of the hot water heater should keep the problem from returning.
Hot water heater odors can also result from having the temperature set too low. To prevent bacterial growth, hot water heaters should not be set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Care should be taken in homes with young children, elderly or disabled residents to prevent accidental scalding.
Some odor is naturally present in groundwater due to naturally occurring organic material in the West Coast Basin. We regularly monitor odor as a secondary (non-health related) standard, but some residents may be able to detect a certain level of “earthy” odor at various points throughout the system. If you continue to experience odor problems with your water, please contact us at (310) 325-7110 or firstname.lastname@example.org to report the occurrence and Lomita Water Division staff will investigate each situation.
Imported water received from the Metropolitan Water District is treated with chloramines, and the City’s groundwater is also treated with chloramines, which is safe for use and drinking but could be toxic to fish. Water that contains chloramines may be treated a number of ways, including commercial products found in pet supply stores. Customers should follow the instructions on these products’ packages. If you have any questions, consult the manufacturer, because these products contain varying amounts and types of reactive agent.
Water rates are set by the City Council every few years, based on a water rate study. The study analyzes the costs of imported water, treated groundwater, operations and maintenance of the water system, water main replacements, and other system costs. The study also looks at future imported water cost increases. These data are used to determine reasonable water rates to make sure operation and maintenance costs are covered while keeping rates as low as possible.
Water-saving devices such as low-flow toilets and showerheads use less water with no loss in convenience or benefit. For example, a family of four can save over 35,000 gallons of water per year by installing low-water-use showerheads. Since they will be using less water, additional savings in energy costs can occur.
On a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, our staff samples water from water sampling stations located throughout the City. These samples are sent to an independent laboratory for analysis, thereby ensuring that Lomita is providing the best quality water available. In addition, Lomita Water personnel flush our water systems through selected fire hydrants on a regular basis. This periodic flushing helps eliminate the possibility of stagnant water conditions. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the quality of your water, contact the City at email@example.com or by calling (310) 325-7110.
Yes; however, you will have to make arrangements with a private laboratory. Costs can vary significantly depending upon the contaminant being tested for. If you have any questions or concerns, Lomita Water can provide you with information on your water quality and can test the water coming into your home. Local and state health departments can also provide water quality and testing information.
The primary agency responsible for oversight of water quality in Lomita is the Drinking Water Division of the State Water Resources Control Board, which is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Federal oversight is also provided by the Federal EPA.
The City performs all testing necessary to make sure our water quality meets State and Federal standards. The State’s Division of Drinking Water has a list of all chemicals, contaminants, minerals that are tested for at the following link: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/Chemicalcontaminants.shtm
The annual Consumer Confidence Report, which summarizes the previous year’s water quality results, is available on this website at the following page: here
For more specific information about water quality testing, please contact the Engineering Division at (310) 325-7110 x170.
Water pressure can fluctuate due to higher-than-normal demand placed on the water system. This usually occurs during the summer months, when water usage is at its highest level, and in some instances during morning and evening hours when residents are more likely to take showers, wash clothes, wash dishes, etc. If you are experiencing a change in water pressure that seems out of the ordinary, please contact our staff at (310) 325-7110.
The City disinfects your water to ensure that it is free of bacteria. To reduce any chlorine taste or smell, try refrigerating your water before drinking. Chlorine will dissipate with time and the water will taste fresher. Reverse osmosis and activated carbon filters are also effective in removing chlorine from water, but choose a reputable vendor and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing and maintaining such treatment devices.
The City is investing in significant updates to the water production and distribution systems. The roadmap for these upgrades has been outlined in the City’s Water Master Plan, a dynamic document that prioritizes recommended improvements to the water system. The most recent Master Plan update was done in 2015, and is available here.
We conduct periodic flushing as part of our ongoing water quality and water system maintenance program. By opening certain fire hydrants under controlled conditions, we remove minerals and sediment that build up in water lines over time. This improves water quality and increases the amount of water that can flow through the water lines.
Although it may seem wasteful to the casual observer, flushing is actually an important and necessary water utility activity that is endorsed by the American Water Works Association and conducted in accordance with guidelines set by the California Division of Drinking Water.
You will continue to receive water while we are flushing, but you might notice a temporary drop in water pressure. If you notice any discoloration and/or sediment in your water after we have flushed, please allow water to run until it clears.
Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause leukemia–cancer of the blood-forming organs. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “long-term exposure” is continued exposure of a year or more. The seriousness of poisoning caused by benzene depends on the amount, route, and length of time of exposure, as well as the age and pre-existing medical condition of the exposed person.
The Cypress Water Production Facility provides blended water to Zone 1 (generally the area of town to the North of PCH). Elevated levels of benzene in the City’s pre-blended raw water was initially detected on April 30th and, once confirmed, the City immediately transitioned to 100% imported water. This pressure zone typically receives a blend of water purchased from Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and treated water from Well No. 5 in the Cypress Water Production Facility (CWPF). Per the sampling throughout the City’s distribution system, benzene was detected from ‘Not Detected’ (ND) to 1.4 parts per billion (ppb) in the distribution system. As of May 15, Zone 1 is receiving water entirely from MWD.
In California, the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of benzene in public drinking water supply is 1 part per billion (ppb), or 0.001 milligrams per liter. Federal regulations set that same MCL at 5 ppb.
On May 9, 2019, the City received a result for a single annual water quality test sample collected on April 30, 2019 that showed benzene detection over the maximum contaminant level (MCL) at 3.2 parts per billion (ppb) in the water supply at Well No. 5. Lomita Water operators conducted additional confirmation sampling at Well No. 5 and sampling throughout the City’s distribution system to verify the results. Benzene was detected at 3.6 ppb and 3.7 ppb at Well No.5, and from Not Detected (ND) to 1.4 ppb in the distribution system.
Where and when did the City test the water supply and find elevated levels of benzene in May 2019?
Benzene was first detected at the groundwater well (Well No. 5) located at the Cypress Water Production Facility (CWPF) at 26112 Cypress Street. On May 9, 2019, the City received a result for a single annual water quality test sample collected on April 30, 2019 that showed benzene detection over the maximum contaminant level (MCL) at 3.2 parts per billion (ppb) in the water supply at Well No. 5. Between May 9 and May 15, 2019, the City then tested at multiple points throughout the City’s treatment and distribution systems. Test results confirmed benzene was detected at 3.6 ppb and 3.7 ppb at Well No.5, and from Not Detected (ND) to 1.4 ppb in the distribution system.
What is the City doing to identify the May 2019 source of benzene contamination and how will I know when it’s been fixed?
While there is no immediate threat to health or safety, the City is working closely with the California State Division of Drinking Water, the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board, and other agencies to identify the potential source of benzene contamination through extensive testing. This testing may include identification and investigation of potential sources both inside and outside the City, extensive sampling, boring and monitoring of likely sources in the area, and ongoing monitoring of soil and water levels. It may take some time to find evidence of where the problem is. The City will then receive guidance from our State partners on how to address the issue. Throughout the process, the City will let the public know of progress through LomitaWater.com and other City communication channels.
When did the City learn about the May 2019 benzene contamination and how quickly did the City switch to a different water supply?
On May 9, 2019, the City received results from a single annual water quality test sampled on April 30, 2019 that showed higher-than-usual levels of benzene. In compliance with state water quality procedures, a second confirmation test was arranged to confirm the finding. After the additional testing from an independent laboratory analysis and confirmation of the results, the City transitioned its water supply to the approved back-up supply through Metropolitan Water District (MWD) on May 15, 2019.
Why didn’t the City notify the public as soon as the April 30, 2019 test showed elevated levels of benzene?
The City first learned about possible elevated traces of benzene in Well No. 5’s water supply on May 9, 2019 when it received preliminary results from a regular water quality sample collected on April 30, 2019. Per State procedures, the City immediately conducted a confirmation sample and expedited the testing to confirm. The City and supporting agencies worked as quickly as possible to complete testing within seven days of obtaining the initial results. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the adverse impacts of benzene exposure typically require continued exposure over a year or more at levels higher than what was recorded during the water quality tests. Given the relatively short time period between the first test and final confirmation of test results, as well as the relatively low levels (below the federal maximum contaminant level), the City does not believe there is any danger to the health or safety of the public.
As an immediate response, the provision of water from the approved back-up source will mitigate any further exposure. Also, the City has recently completed the design of a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system for the Cypress Water Production Facility to improve aesthetic qualities of the City’s water system, and has budgeted for construction of the project in the coming fiscal year. Although the City could not have foreseen the benzene contamination, GAC filtration is also widely recognized as the best-practice method of addressing and removing benzene, and the City has already begun the process of increasing the design scope of the project to accommodate for benzene removal. The City will also continue to work with our partners at the State level to identify the source of the benzene and mitigate any continued contamination. Once complete, the GAC project will allow the City to return to normal operation of Well No. 5 and continue to provide a safe, clean, and reliable source of local water supply.
The Cypress Water Production Facility (CWPF) – which includes the Well No. 5 and the Cypress reservoir – is currently off-line due to a detection of Benzene in the City’s groundwater source. CWPF is designed to treat ground water produced from Well No. 5, blend it with imported water and transfer it into the Cypress Reservoir for storage prior to being distributed out into the water system. This generally allows for a cycled operation of the production, treatment and storage processes (i.e. produce, treat, fill, draw down, produce, treat, fill, draw down, etc.) and provides additional redundancy in the case of an emergency where additional water capacity may be needed. Because the City is currently meeting its service demand through our multiple pretreated imported water connections at various points throughout the City (rather than drawing water from the well site at CWPF and treating it on site before distribution), the Reservoir is currently not in use. (Updated 08/2019)
The City’s water system is currently receiving water through its multiple pre-treated imported water connections at various points in the City. Redundancy equals options, which is critical during dynamic emergency situations, and the City maintains (2) imported water connections with Metropolitan Water District with unlimited flow restrictions as well as (3) redundant emergency interconnections with neighboring water systems to ensure water source availability in an emergency situation. Although water treated elsewhere and imported into the City is more expensive than water produced and treated locally, the City is better able to ensure the quality of water our residents receive while CWPF is offline by meeting demand through our MWD connections. As CWPF is upgraded to address the recent benzene intrusion, the City will return to normal blending operations and add the additional layer of redundancy back into our water system while at the same time improving the overall quality of water received by our residents. (Updated 08/2019)
The proposed CWPF upgrades include granular activated carbon (GAC) filters, which is widely recognized as one of the best available treatment technologies for removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including Benzene as well as for improving aesthetic qualities of ground water by removing the naturally occurring sulfides present in ground water. The upgrades will allow for decreased chlorine demand and increased production and storage capability. The design for the upgrades also includes additional treatment at the finished water effluent (just prior to release into the distribution system) as a redundant measure to ensure water provided to our customers continues to meet and exceed water quality standards. (Updated 08/2019)
Why do fire hydrants have to be flushed? And why do they sometimes need to be flushed multiple times within one week?
It is required of water systems to have a flushing program to ensure that the chlorine level in the water supply system is sufficient to kill bacteria and provide fresh water.
The flushing frequency depends on the characteristics of each water system such as source of water, treatment, configuration of pipes, flow/use, and time of year (temperature).