Lebec Water District violated requirements to report high fluoride levels to the public

By Mountain Enterprise staff

Last week The Mountain Enterprise reported that Lebec County Water District (LCWD) had high fluoride levels in drinking water (“Lebec Water District lab tests show high fluoride levels”). California Department of Public Health (CDPH) responded to our questions this week about the length of time LCWD took to notify the public of its maximum contaminant level (MCL) violation.

CDPH spokesman Ronald Owens said his department had not granted LCWD any extension of time to notify the public about its high fluoride levels. He said LCWD had violated notification requirements. The California Code of Regulations says a water system must notify the public as soon as possible, but not later than 30 days after any known contaminant level violation.

Lebec Water District knew about its four-quarter average of high fluoride levels for the Chimney Canyon Well in April, but the notice it eventually produced was dated July 1—more than 60 days after the high level average was known. Many of the Lebec water customers we asked said they had not received a notice until mid or late July. Commercial property owner Sam Farr (owner of LCWD’s office building) said he did not receive his notice until July 28.

Owens told The Mountain Enterprise, “The Drinking Water Program has been aware that LCWD did not notify the public, and has been working directly with LCWD to comply with the 30-day time line requirement for providing the quarterly public notification of the fluoride MCL violation.”

LCWD President Julie McWhorter did not respond to requests for comment.

Those wishing to run for two seats opening on the board have until Friday, Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. to declare candidacy. This date was not announced to the public by the LCWD.

McWhorter’s seat is opening, as is that of Tony Venegas.

Declarations of candidacy may be filed in-person at the Elections Office at 1115 Truxtun Avenue,
Bakersfield, CA 93301.

This is part of the August 9, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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