Lawsuit on chromium-6 standard filed

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 16, 2012 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In a new lawsuit against the Department of Public Health (DPH), environmental groups are seeking a court-ordered timeline for the pending hexavalent chromium safe drinking water standard.

In 2001, following the outcome of a previous lawsuit against PG&E, the Legislature ordered that a standard for the use and disposal of the chemical, also known as chromium-6, be developed by 2004.  With a standard still yet to be established, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Working Group filed a lawsuit this week claiming DPH has had enough time and that the lack of process is inexcusable.

In response to the suit, defendant supporters claim the absence of a standard is due to justifiable circumstances surrounding inconclusive scientific research regarding the effects of ingesting chromium-6.  The extremely low Public Health Goal of 20 parts per trillion was set by OEHHA prior to the release of a study that tends to show that hexavalent chromium is not an ingestion problem below 100 parts per billion.  The water agencies have also completed a study that shows the cost to comply with the OEHHA standard would be astronomic and would likely put as much as one-third of the State’s water supply in jeopardy.

CMTA believes DPH should not rush into this decision.

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