Baldwin Park, La Puente Residents Warned of Unsafe Water

UPDATED: President Bob Nicholson said Saturday morning that the water is clean again after flushing of a toxic chemical.

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UPDATE 12:10pm: San Gabriel Valley Water Company President Bob Nicholson said Saturday morning to the San Gabriel valley Tribune that the water is clean again after flushing  of the toxic chemical.


Residents of Baldwin Park and La Puente have been warned by the San Gabriel Valley Water Co. not to drink the water or use it in infant formula.

High levels of the chemical perchlorate have been found in the drinking water. According to the company, perchlorate can interfere with the thyroid gland's use of iodide in the body, leading to inadequate hormone levels.

Here is what the water company advises:

• Do not consume any ice, beverages, juice, or formula prepared with tap water.
Bottled water or other water low in perchlorate should be used until further notice.

DO NOT BOIL THE WATER. Boiling, freezing, filtering, or letting water stand
does not reduce the perchlorate level. Excessive boiling can make the
perchlorate more concentrated because perchlorate remains behind when the
water evaporates.

• If you have other health issues concerning the consumption of this water, you
may wish to consult your doctor.

"Thyroid hormones are needed for normal prenatal growth and development of the fetus, as well as for normal growth and development in the infant and child. In adults, thyroid hormones are needed for normal metabolism and mental function. Women who smoke and have low iodine intake appear to be particularly susceptible," the company said in a release.

The problem resulted from a failure of the company's groundwater treatment facility in Baldwin Park, allowing water containing perchlorate to enter the water system above allowable levels.

Perchlorate is an inorganic chemical used in rocket propellant, fireworks, explosives, flares and other products, the company said. Environmental contamination from historic aerospace or other industrial operations is usually the cause of the problem.

The company said it has shut down the contaminated water source and is providing water in neighborhoods from other clean sources. It is flushing the system to bring it back to drinking water standards.

The estimated time of correcting the problem is a day, according to the company statement, but crews are taking additional samples and will notify the public when the water is again safe to drink.

More information is available on the company's Web site at www.sgvwater.com and by contacting customer service at 800-583-1773.


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