“The Wild, Wild West –
Taking on Mother Nature and More”
Jack Hawks
NARUC Committee on Water
July 15, 2014
Dallas, TX
Working together.
Achieving results.
California Update
• Hollywood and Maximum Contaminant
Levels (water quality regulatory standard)
• A New Hexavalent Chromium MCL,
Effective July 1st
• The Drought: Unrelenting Pressure
 How Water Utilities Are Responding
 New Emergency Drought Regulations
• 115 Regulated IOWCs
 9 Class A water utilities (>
10,000 connections)
 5 Class B water utilities (>2,000)
 24 Class C water utilities (> 500)
 77 Class D water utilities (< 500)
• 1.5 Million Customers
• $1.4 billion annual
• 6 Million Served
Hollywood and Water Contamination
• A Civil Action (1996 – John Travolta)
 Trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination of the
town's water supply (Woburn, MA)
 Financial settlement ($68 million) for town’s
• Erin Brockovich (2000 – Julia Roberts)
 Hexavalent chromium (Cr+6) contamination in
Hinkley, CA
 PG&E financial settlement ($333 million) for
town’s residents
 Much agitation in California State Legislature
Hexavalent Chromium (Cr+6) - What a
Long Strange Trip It’s Been
What Is It?
• Chromium is a naturally occurring element in rocks,
animals, plants, soil; occurs predominantly as
 Trivalent chromium (Cr+3), essential to normal glucose,
protein, and fat metabolism and thus an essential dietary
element for humans
 Hexavalent chromium (Cr+6), used in making stainless
steel, textile dyes, wood preservation, and for anticorrosion, treatment of cooling tower water
• Human body reduces Cr+6 to Cr+3
• USEPA has classified Cr+6 as a human carcinogen
when inhaled because of results from animal studies
A Little History
• 1977 - MCL established by USEPA and adopted by
California at 50 parts per billion for Total Chromium
(includes both Cr+6 and Cr+3); 1 ppb = about 1 drop of
water in 250 chemical drums (3 seconds out of 100 yrs.)
• 1991 - USEPA raised federal MCL to 100 ppb
• 2000 – Julia Roberts wins Oscar for ‘Erin Brockovich’;
Prompts California legislature to force MCL development
• 2000 – City of Glendale begins treatment studies for Cr+6
• 2001 – California water utilities begin monitoring for Cr+6
under California UCMR
A Little More History
• March 2001 – CDHP requests that OEHHA prepare a
Public Health Goal for Cr+6
• May 2001 – National Toxicology Program (NTP)
announces intent to conduct a long-term animal study
to evaluate carcinogenicity of ingested Cr+6
• October 2001 – SB 351 is signed by the Governor,
requiring CDHP to adopt a Cr+6 MCL by 1/1/2004
• November 2001 – OEHHA announces intent to
develop a Cr+6 PHG
• 2004 – Water Research Foundation publishes three
Cr+6 reports
Still More History
• 2007 – NTP reports there to be sufficient evidence of
carcinogenicity in rodents
• August 2009 – OEHHA releases draft PHG at 60 ng/L (parts
per trillion; 1 ppt = 1 drop in 20 Olympic-sized pools)
• 2010 – USEPA announces in second Six-year Review of
existing standards, no revision to Total Chromium MCL
• September 2010 – External review draft of USEPA’s IRIS
Toxicological Review of Hexavalent Chromium
• December 2010 – OEHHA releases revised draft PHG for Cr+6
at 20 ng/L (20 ppt)
Even More History
• December 2010 – Environmental Working
Group releases report: Chromium-6 is
Widespread in US Tap Water
 Tested tap water in 35 cities
 Range of positive tests: 30 ppt to 13 ppb
 Cites WaterRF 2004 occurrence study
• April 3, 2011 – EWG press release: “Utilities
Knew of Chrome-6 Contamination For
Final PHG in California
• July 2011 – OEHHA finalizes the
PHG for Cr+6 at 20 ppt
• CDPH can now finally start working
on developing an MCL required by
SB 351
• It is now seven and one-half years
since the SB 351 deadline
Water Research Foundation
Keeps Science Moving Forward
Project #
Project Title
(2011 – 2012)
Feasibility of Microfiltration in the RCF Process for Hexavalent Chromium
Trace Level Chromium-6 Occurrence and Analysis: Reviewing and
Testing the State of the Science
Total and Hexavalent Chromium Occurrence Analysis
Guidelines for Hexavalent Chromium Treatment Testing
Assessment of Single-Pass Ion Exchange and Adsorptive Media for
Hexavalent Chromium Removal from Drinking Water
WITAF 320/
National implications of Community-level Cost for a Theoretical Cr(VI)
SDWA Standard
Development of a Uniform Approach to Prepare Drinking Water Hex
Chrome Compliance Plans
Sources, Fate & Treatment of Hexavalent Chromium
Environmental Groups File Suit
• July 18, 2013 – NRDC, EWG file suit
in Superior Court to force CDPH to
propose and finalize a MCL for Cr+6
• Court rules in plaintiffs’ favor and
requires CDPH to propose an MCL by
August 31, 2013
History in the Making
• 8/23/2013: CDPH Proposes Cr+6 MCL at 10 ppb
• Water Industry Comments Due 10/13/2013
 Coordinate comments
 Hire two expert engineering firms to analyze the
CDPH supporting evidence and produce technical
• Bottom Line: CDPH Vastly Underestimates
Incidence, Compliance Costs of Cr+6
History in the Making
• 20,000 comments received by CDPH
 About 250 were “significantly distinct”
 Remaining were form emails or post cards
• California Administrative Procedure Act allows up to one
year to finalize a regulation (i.e., 8/23/2014)
• December 17, 2013
• Court finds in favor of NRDC/EWG and orders CDPH to finalize
MCL by April 15, 2014
• If there are substantial changes to the rule, must finalize by June
15, 2014 and allow an additional 15-day comment period
History Made
CDPH refutes, dismisses most comments
Reiterates MCL of 10 ppb
New MCL went into effect on July 1, 2014
Where is USEPA on all this?
 Not enough evidence in second six-year review
(2010) to warrant a federal Cr+6 MCL, nor change
the total chromium MCL
 USEPA will await occurrence data on total chromium
and Cr+6 under UCMR 3 (thru 2015)
 Continued IRIS review of Cr+6
 No decision on Cr+6 anytime soon
Impact of New MCL
• For customers in affected service areas
 Statewide capital costs - $4.1 billion
 Annual O&M - $231 million
• Cal Water most affected of California IOUs
 25 wells affected at 10 ppb
 Capital costs up to $66 million, O&M up to $11
• All affected water utilities, agencies,
municipalities, districts struggling with
compressed compliance time frame
Regulatory Response
• Memorandum Account Effective on July 1
 Cal Water can apply for cost recovery in future
 Not an automatic process
• Willows District Case History (2,610 customers)
Tested in 2011-12; CR+6 levels averaged 16 ppb
Total chromium averaged 24 ppb (vs. 50 ppb MCL)
Capital costs – up to $17.3 million; O&M $360,000/yr
Staggering treatment, selection of SBA, other cost
reductions, etc. will reduce bill impacts
 Cal Water estimates impact from $63/month to
Drought Update
U.S. Drought Monitor
California – 7/8/14
• 100% of California in
drought for first time
in recorded history
• 78% likelihood of El
Nino prediction in fall
2014 … But …
• El Nino years do not
guarantee aboveaverage precipitation.
• A scary fire season
California Used to Extremes
Folsom Reservoir, July 20, 2011 97% Capacity
Folsom Reservoir, January 16, 2014 17% Capacity
2013 Redefined “Dry” in California
January 18, 2013
January 18, 2014
California Precipitation
• Variable & Extreme
Over Time & Location
• Most Occurs Nov.- March
California Statewide Precipitation
SOURCE: http://education.usgs.gov/california/resources.html#water
Snow Water Content
• 6/9/14 Statewide Average - 0%
• Means major reservoirs will not
be replenished
• Means reliance on groundwater
has increase to 65+% from 38%
• Means falling groundwater
levels, land subsidence, lower
GW storage capacity, water
quality degradation
North Sierra/Trinity 0%
Central Sierra 0%
South Sierra 0%
CA Reservoir
July 8, 2014
Current Water Supplier Restrictions*
• Mandatory: 62 water suppliers
• Includes 6 rationing
• Voluntary: 154 water suppliers
• Drought impacts are strongly tied to
local and regional water supply
* As of July 7, 2014, compiled by DWR
The State’s Response
• Governor proclaims
• California Water Plan Update 2013 (draft)
• Governor establishes Drought Task Force
Drought Emergency
on Jan. 17
California Water
Action Plan released
Drought Legislation:
SB 103/104
Governor issues
Executive Order April
25 to re-double
drought efforts
Governor’s April 25 Proclamation
• Facilitate water transfers and exchanges
• Urban water suppliers directed to address outdoor water use
• Californians directed to eliminate water waste
 Limit outdoor watering; irrigation, washing hard surfaces, car
washing; commercial establishments
• Homeowner association rules voided
• Assist with temporary interconnections between water
• Protect threatened and endangered species
• CEQA / Water Code sections suspended to speed up actions,
including water transfers
CPUC’s Regulatory Response
• February 27, 2014 – CPUC adopted Res. W-4976
 Drought procedures for water conservation, rationing and
service connection moratoria
 Comply with Governor’s call for 20% voluntary conservation
• Tariff Rule No. 14.1
 Water Conservation and Rationing Plan
 Lists non-essential and unauthorized water uses
• Tariff Schedule 14.1
 Mandatory rationing
 Requires DWA approval
• All Class A and B utilities have Rule 14.1 in place
• CPUC monitoring vulnerable systems
Tariff Rule 14.1 Highlights
• Voluntary Conservation Plan
• Customers Notified by Bill Insert or Direct
• Option to Request Activation of Staged
Mandatory Rationing (Schedule 14.1)
• Small Utilities (< 2,000 connections) Shall
Make Conservation Kits Available
• Section A of Rule: Non-Essential Uses
Non-Essential, Unauthorized Water Use
Anything more than “minimal” landscaping
“Excessive” water use (per utility notification)
Potable water in gutters, streets
Private car washing (except w/shut-off nozzle)
Washing buildings, driveways, patios, etc.,
w/potable water
• Use of potable water for lawns, gardens, etc.,
other than drip irrigation or hand watering on
specific schedules
• Use of potable water for construction purposes,
dust control, etc., if other sources available
Non-Essential, Unauthorized Water Use
• Use of potable water for street cleaning
• Operation of commercial car washes unless 50%
recycling per cycle
• Use of potable water for outside plants, lawn,
landscape, turf during certain hours
• Use of potable water for decorative fountains, unless
recycled water used
• Use of potable water for filling/refilling swimming pools
• Water service in restaurants, unless requested
• Use of potable water to flush hydrants, except when
required for public safety
Schedule 14.1 - Rationing
• Utility makes decision on whether more stringent
measures are required
• Must file w/CPUC to activate staged mandatory
rationing measures in Rule 14.1
• Filing conditioned on:
 Declaration of Mandatory Rationing – can be made by utility
or governing agency (e.g., State Water Board)
 Whether utility is unable to address voluntary conservation
levels set by itself, its supplier or governing agency
 Whether utility chooses to subsequently activate a different
• Utility may not activate Schedule 14.1 unless
authorized by CPUC
Customer notification, public hearing required
Schedule 14.1: Enforcement
• Utility may charge a water use violation fine
if non-essential/unauthorized use is
observed (min. 3 Ccf/person/ month)
• After one written warning, utility can install
flow-restricting device
• All monies collected via fines or penalties
will be used to offset lost revenues
Recovery of Lost Revenues
• Utilities w/partial decoupling WRAMs
 Can file for memorandum (tracking) accounts to
track expenses, monies collected and lost revenues
– can letter request recovery of the net balance, but
… they must subtract amount equal to 20bp
reduction in current authorized ROE – even then,
recovery cannot exceed authorized ROR
• Utilities w/full decoupling WRAMs
 Can file for memo account that only tracks
expenses incurred and monies collected, since
WRAM already protects for lost revenues
New Emergency Regulations
• Issued by State Water Resources Control Board July 8;
approval on July 15th
• Mandatory conservation actions, monthly data collection of
water production, temporary water restrictions – prohibits:
 The direct application of water to any hard surface for washing.
 Watering of outdoor landscapes that cause runoff to adjacent
property, walkways, roadways, parking lots, etc.
 Using hose to wash automobiles, unless fitted with shut-off nozzle.
 Using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature,
unless the water is recirculated.
• Violations punishable by fines of $500 per day; any
employee of a public agency may write and issue a ticket
to a violator – raises all sorts of “water police” questions
New Emergency Regulations
• State Board Chair Felicia Marcus has stated that
new regs don’t apply to CPUC-regulated water
utilities, but CPUC may well adopt them
• CWA’s July 14 comments note that Rule and
Schedule 14.1 constitute drought management
• Water IOUs will continue to work with the CPUC to
coordinate their existing drought response plans
and programs with the State Board’s new
Thank You
Jack Hawks
California Water Association
[email protected]

Taking on Mother Nature and More