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Can You Drink Tap Water in California?
Yes, California's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as California has no active health based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that we are aware of. Other factors such as lead piping in a home, or low levels of pollutants on immunocompromised individuals, should also be considered, however. To find more recent info we might have, you can check out our boil water notice page or the city's water provider website.
According the EPA’s ECHO database, from April 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022, California's water utility, Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash), had 0 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. The last violation for California was resolved on Dec. 31, 2011. This assessment is based on the Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash) water system, other water systems in the city may have different results.
While tap water that meets the EPA health guidelines generally won’t make you sick to your stomach, it can still contain regulated and unregulated contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run. These trace contaminants may also impact immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals.
The EPA is reviewing if it’s current regulations around pollutant levels in tap water are strict enough, and the health dangers posed by unregulated pollutants, like PFAS.
California Tap Water Safe Drinking Water Act Violation History - Prior 10 Years
Below is a ten year history of violations for the water system named Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash) for California in Maryland. For more details please see the "What do these Violations Mean?" section below.
From Oct. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011, California had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring, Regular which falls into the Chemicals rule code group, and the Inorganic Chemicals rule code family for the following contaminant code: Arsenic.
Is there Lead in California Water?
Based on the EPA’s ECHO Database, 90% of the samples taken from the California water system, Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash), between sample start date and sample end date, were at or below, -0.002 mg/L of lead in California water. This is -13.3% of the 0.015 mg/L action level. This means 10% of the samples taken from California contained more lead.
While California water testing may have found -0.002 mg/L of lead in its water, that does not mean your water source has the same amount. The amount of lead in water in a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even building to building. Many buildings, particularly older ones, have lead pipes or service lines which can be a source of contamination. To find out if your home has lead, we recommend getting you water tested.
No amount of lead in water is healthy, only less dangerous. As lead accumulates in our bodies over time, even exposure to relatively small amounts can have negative health effects. For more information, please check out our Lead FAQ page.
Are there PFAS in California Tap Water?
Currently, testing tap water for PFAS isn’t mandated on a national level. We do have a list of military bases where there have been suspected or confirmed leaks. There appears to be no military bases near California with suspected leaks.
With many potential sources of PFAS in tap water across the US, the best information we currently have about which cities have PFAS in their water is this ewg map, which you can check to see if California has been evaluated for yet.
Our stance is better safe than sorry, and that it makes sense to try to purify the tap water just in case.
California SDWA Violation History Table - Prior 10 Years
|Compliance Period||Status||Health-Based?||Category Code||Code||Rule Code||Contaminant Code||Rule Group Code||Rule Family Code|
|10/01/2011 - 12/31/2011||Resolved||No||Monitoring and Reporting (MR)||Monitoring, Regular (03)||Arsenic (332)||Arsenic (1005)||Chemicals (300)||Inorganic Chemicals (330)|
What do these Violations Mean?
Safe Drinking Water Act Violations categories split into two groups, health based, and non-health based. Generally, health based violations are more serious, though non-health based violations can also be cause for concern.
Health Based Violations
- Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) - maximum allowed contaminant level was exceeded.
- Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) - maximum allowed disinfectant level was exceeded.
- Other violations (Other) - the exact required process to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water was not followed.
Non-Health Based Violations
- Monitoring and reporting violations (MR, MON) - failure to conduct the required regular monitoring of drinking water quality, and/or to submit monitoring results on time.
- Public notice violations (Other) - failure to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
- Other violations (Other) - miscellaneous violations, such as failure to issue annual consumer confidence reports or maintain required records.
SDWA Table Key
|Compliance Period||Dates of the compliance period.|
Current status of the violation.
|Health-Based?||Whether the violation is health based.|
The category of violation that is reported.
|Code||A full description of violation codes can be accessed in the SDWA_REF_CODE_VALUES (CSV) table.|
|Contaminant Code||A code value that represents a contaminant for which a public water system has incurred a violation of a primary drinking water regulation.|
Code for a National Drinking Water rule.
|Rule Group Code||
Code that uniquely identifies a rule group.
|Rule Family Code||
Code for rule family.
For more clarification please visit the EPA's data dictionary.
California Water - Frequently Asked Questions
|By Mail:||NAS Patuxent River, Environmental Dept
22445 Peary Road, Bldg 504
PATUXENT RIVER, MD, 20670
Existing customers can login to their Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash) account to pay their California water bill by clicking here.
If you want to pay your Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash) bill online and haven't made an account yet, you can create an account online. Please click here to create your account to pay your California water bill.
If you don't want to make an account, or can't remember your account, you can make a one-time payment towards your California water bill without creating an account using a one time payment portal with your account number and credit or debit card. Click here to make a one time payment.
Moving to a new house or apartment in California means you will often need to put the water in your name with Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash). In order to put the water in your name, please click the link to the start service form below. Start service requests for water bills typically take two business days.
Leaving your house or apartment in California means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with Patuxent Naval Air Station (Navfac-Wash). In order to take your name off the water bill, please click the link to the stop service form below. Stop service for water bills requests typically take two business days.
USER SUBMITTED RATINGS
- Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 34% Low
- Water Pollution 36% Low
- Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 67% High
- Water Quality 64% High
The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in California, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).
Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.