In 2014, the California Department of Public Health lowered the Drinking Water Standard for chromium-6 from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb while the federal standard remained at 100 ppb. The Phelan Piñon Hills Community Services District (District) has wells that average 10-16 ppb so the District became out of compliance with the 10 ppb standard. The District, through various studies, determined the most cost effective way to reduce the level of chromium-6 was to blend existing District water sources with a new water source. This resulted in the District's Chromium-6 Mitigation Project and the project commenced with a goal of meeting the state's compliance timeline. In August 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) reversed the new standard after a court ruled the new standard was invalid due to failure to properly consider the economic feasibility of complying with the new standard. The SWRCB is currently in the process of completing this economic feasibility requirement and determining what the standard for chromium-6 should be. Until further notice, the District has halted all work on the Chromium-6 Mitigation Project.
request for proposals (archived)
Why is the chromium-6 surcharge still on my bill?
Although the SWRCB reversed the 10 ppb standard back to 50 ppb for chromium-6 levels, it was done after the District had already spent approximately $3.7 million towards the Chromium-6 Mitigation Project to meet the 10 ppb standard. This surcharge will remain in effect until all costs are recovered, currently estimated to be February 2021 assuming current repayment rates and assuming the state does not change the standard again.