Office Location: 3570 Airline Hwy, Hollister, CA 95023 Telephone: (831) 637-4670 Fax: (831) 637-1399
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IS MY WATER SAFE TO DRINK?
Water supplied by Sunnyslope County Water District meets, or is within, the stringent State and Federal regulations. These regulations require close monitoring of all water supplies, and we must report a summary of water quality monitoring to our customers each year.
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons, such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Disease Control guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791), the Drinking Water Contaminants page on the EPA website water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm, and the California Department of Health Services web site www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/DDWEM.aspx .
HOW HARD IS OUR WATER?
Water hardness is a result of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium and occurs naturally in our water supply. There are no distinctly defined levels of what constitutes hard or soft water. Typically, if the amount of dissolved Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) is above 130 ppm or 8 grains per gallon, water is considered hard and can cause scale to build up in pipes, on faucets, and leave white spots on dishware. The District’s water hardness can range from 65 to 470 ppm or 4 to 27 grains per gallon, depending on your location within the District.
WHAT CAUSES MY WATER TO LOOK YELLOW/BROWN?
The surface water source sometimes has trace amounts of Dissolved Iron and Manganese. When this water is treated and disinfected, these constituents precipitate out causing a yellow/brown color in the water, usually most visible in white bathtubs, sinks or toilets. This condition does not constitute a health risk and flushing your water pipes will usually remedy the situation. An additional source of color can be naturally occurring organic materials.
WHAT CAUSES MY WATER TO LOOK CLOUDY OR MILKY?
Cloudy or milky water is usually due to air bubbles in the water. Distribution pipes carry water under pressure, meaning air is dissolved in the water. These bubbles initially make a glass of water appear cloudy, but will slowly rise and disappear.
WHAT CAUSES MY DRINKING WATER TO TASTE OR SMELL FUNNY?
Taste comes from the dissolved minerals in the water. Following are the two most common reasons for poor tasting or smelling water.
1. Chlorine odor is usually a result of the chlorine used to disinfect the water supply. If the smell is particularly bothersome, let the water stand in an open container, the chlorine will dissipate. The container can then be covered for later use.
2. A rotten-egg odor in groundwater is caused by a non-toxic (in small amounts) amount of hydrogen sulfide dissolved in the water and usually comes from the hot water faucet. A remedy can be to slightly turn up the temperature in your hot water heater. In addition, if you let the water flush for a few seconds, the smell will disappear.
HOW OFTEN IS CHLORINE CHECKED IN THE WATER SYSTEM?
Chlorine is added to the water pumped from the District’s wells and the surface water source from the LESSALT Water Treatment Plant to provide a high degree of disinfection over a long period of time. We measure the chlorine residual at various locations throughout our water distribution system daily and on a continuous basis at the LESSALT Water Treatment Plant utilizing two continuous chlorine residual analyzers.
The weekly microbiological tests we perform look for presence of indicator organisms called coliform bacteria. If these indicator organisms are detected, there is a potential that other pathogenic (disease causing) organisms may be present. Our system is protected against microbiological contamination and the water you drink contains a small amount of chlorine to maintain a disinfectant capability. We have never detected E.Coli in our water system.
IS FLUORIDE ADDED TO OUR DRINKING WATER?
No, fluoride is not added to the District’s water supply. However, fluoride does occur naturally and is present in the water supply between 110 to 360 ppb. By comparison, the fluoride level does not exceed the California Maximum Contaminant Level of 2000 ppb.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I USE A SELF-REGENERATING WATER SOFTENER?
Self-regenerating water softeners use salt, the type that uses rock salt or potassium, and may deposit up to 600 pounds of brine into the sewer system and into the environment each year. That’s a problem because Sunnyslope County Water District wastewater treatment plant cannot remove these salts during the treatment process and these salts, along with our wastewater effluent, are recycled back into the groundwater.
District Regulations require our wastewater customers who install a water softener to have either an “On-Demand” or “Replaceable Cartridge” type water softener. Our Regional Water Quality Control Board Discharge Permit requires us to reduce the salt byproducts in our wastewater effluent.
IF I ALREADY OWN A SELF-REGENERATING WATER SOFTENER,
WHAT CAN I DO TO LESSEN ITS IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT?
Water softeners use the least salt when they are set to regenerate “on demand”, after a certain amount of water has been processed, and not just on a timer. If you do not have an on-demand setting, make sure to turn the unit off when it is not being used, such as when you go on vacation. Also, set the unit at the lowest hardness level that will soften the water. Experiment with the settings to see what is acceptable to you.
WHAT KINDS OF WATER SOFTENER CAN WE USE?
District Regulations require our wastewater customers to replace their self-regenerating water softeners with either an "On-Demand" or "Replaceable Cartridge" water softener by the year 2005. Our Regional Water Quality Control Board Discharge Permit requires us to reduce the salt byproducts in our wastewater effluent.
MY WATER FAUCET DRIPS. DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF I DON'T FIX IT?
Yes, it does. Drips waste a precious resource - water, and it costs you money. As an example, if you have a faucet that drips 60 times a minute, this adds up to over 3 gallons each day, or 1,225 gallons each year.
SHOULD I PUT A BRICK IN MY TOILET TANK TO SAVE WATER?
Toilet flushing uses a lot of water, actually, 40% of a household's total water usage. Putting something in the toilet that takes up space, like a water filled jug, is a good idea. But, putting a brick in the tank is not a good idea, because bricks tend to crumble and might damage your toilet.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY TOILET HAS A SILENT LEAK?
Place a dye tablet or a couple of drops of food coloring in the back)tank and don't flush the toilet for 15-30 minutes. If color appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak. Sunnyslope County Water District has dye tablets available for no charge for its customers.
IS SUNNYSLOPE COUNTY WATER DISTRICT PART OF THE SAN BENITO COUNTY WATER DISTRICT?
No. Sunnyslope County Water District is a special district created by local residents to provide local service in accordance with the California State Water Code. The District is responsible directly to the customers of the District. Although the District participates and collaborates with the San Benito County Water District and the City of Hollister Water Department in specific projects and programs for efficiency purposes, it is not part of or under the jurisdiction of those water agencies.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST OF REPAIRING LEAKS?
The customer is responsible for any leaks on the customer's side of the meter. Sunnyslope County Water District is responsible for leaks on the street side of the meter.
Several questions and parts of questions and answers were reprinted from "Plain Talk About Drinking Water," by the American Water Works Association.
For additional information, visit http://www.awwa.org .