MANTECA — Some residents in the City of Manteca are concerned about their drinking water after receiving a notice that said the city failed a test earlier this year.
“Our water system recently failed a drinking water standard.” Those are the first words of the notice from the city that got Manteca residents talking on social media Sunday. The notice, sent to residents along with their water bill, stated that an elevated level of contaminant 1,2,3-Trichloropropane was found during a test in February.
Some residents said it was the first time they received a notice but Todd Robins, a San Francisco-based attorney representing the city, says several notices have been sent out since February. The city is now suing two companies for causing the contamination.
“The city is doing more than just providing public notice. They have minimized the use of the two wells that are out of compliance with this standard,” Robins said. “These are important wells in the city system. There’s been significant inconvenience associated with this. But the city has minimized the use of those two wells to the point where those wells are only contributing right now 1 percent of the total water production for the people of Manteca.”
Outside of lowering the use of the troubled wells, Robins says the city had been involuntarily checking for 123-TCP for several years before it became state mandated in January. As a result of the proactive approach, Robins says the city has already assessed treatment options and has a game plan to build a filtration system to keep 123-TCP out of the city’s water.
“These facilities don’t get built and installed on a dime,” Robins said. “People want clean and safe water but they also want affordable water and the city’s lawsuit against the companies who caused the problem is really about making sure the people get both clean water and affordable water.”
Robins says several cities in the Central Valley have filed lawsuits against Shell Oil and Dow Chemical after 123-TCP was found in the water.
Though the notice Manteca residents received says the drinking water is safe, many expressed concerns to FOX40 off camera because 123-TCP has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Robins says the state believes Manteca’s situation is not an emergency and they are continuing to try to address the issue.
Estimated treatment costs could be as high as $75 million, though the city’s attorney said that could change because the price for filtration equipment continues to rise.