City government

Ask the expert: River water pollutants are not a concern

By From page A1 | February 05, 2013

* Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of “Ask the Expert” columns that will appear in the coming days, in advance of the Measure I election, regarding various technical aspects of the city’s water utility and the proposed Woodland-Davis surface water project.

The expert: Frank Loge, UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering. Loge’s research focuses on water reuse, fate and transport of contaminants in the environment, the optimization of existing treatment technologies and the design of new treatment systems.

Question: Concerns have been raised recently about Sacramento River water quality as it pertains to the water supply Davis residents will receive through the Woodland-Davis surface water project. Specifically, concerns have been brought up about the intake facility’s close, downstream proximity to Knights Landing where agricultural herbicides are freely discharged into the river.

Describe the concerns you have, if any, about the quality of the water that will reach residences in Davis through the joint Woodland-Davis project. Or describe why you have no concerns. And are there any chemicals that the treatment facility cannot scrub out?

Answer: I have served on the Water Advisory Committee for the past year and in that capacity I have reviewed many, many documents related to the proposed Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency project.

I am not aware of any specific compounds present in the Sacramento River that require specialized treatment.

From a broad engineering perspective, all drinking water treatment plants that intake surface water are designed to remove a whole range of compounds that could potentially be present.

The treated water is tested on a regular basis to make sure the water is safe. Safety standards are set by both federal and state governments.

The proposed Woodland-Davis drinking water treatment plant is state-of-the-art from a treatment perspective. We could not ask for a better treatment facility for our community.

I personally have no concerns with the quality of water that will reach Davis residents’ homes. And what I am about to say next should resonate with the long-standing residents of Davis.

For those of you who do not have a water softener, this new water source should greatly reduce scale formation in your faucets and appliances, and for those of you who like to garden, boron-sensitive plants should now thrive in your landscape.

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected], (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
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