At DWA, our priority is to provide clean, safe water for our customers. We continually monitor our water distribution system, performing thousands of lab tests per year to ensure a quality supply.

The California State Water Resources Control Board recently (April 17, 2024) approved the nation’s first drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium (chromium-6).

Desert Water Agency has not detected hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) in its water distribution system above the maximum contamination level (mcl) of 10 parts per billion, which is the new state standard.

Chromium-6 is a naturally occurring metal. It is also used in several industrial processes. The substance can appear in water as natural erosion from the environment or as discharge from industrial applications. Some forms of chromium are nontoxic (trivalent form). However, studies have linked chromium-6 to health effects including cancer.

Desert Water Agency will keep testing our water to make sure we continue to meet or exceed all state and federal regulations. You can learn more about the safety of our water in the annual Water Quality Report at www.dwa.org/reports.

Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium-6) FAQs

Does my water have chromium-6 in it?

Hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) has not been detected in DWA’s water distribution system above the maximum contamination level (mcl) of 10 parts per billion (ppb), which is the new state standard.

Desert Water Agency tested total chromium in all its wells between 2022 and 2023. This includes trivalent and hexavalent chromium. Trivalent chromium is recognized as an essential nutrient and is widely used as a nutritional supplement for humans and animals.

All samples of total chromium came back at less than 10 ppb, which is below the maximum contamination level (mcl) established by the state for hexavalent chromium.  This means that DWA’s water meets state regulations and is safe to use. More information about the safety of our water is available in the annual Water Quality Report at www.dwa.org/reports.

Chromium-6 has appeared in water at higher levels in other parts of the state and the Coachella Valley, but not in DWA’s retail service area.

Is my water safe to drink?

Yes, your tap water is safe to drink. California has some of the strictest water quality standards in the nation. DWA performs more than 2,600 tests a year in our state-certified lab to ensure the water we provide meets or exceeds all California and federal regulations.

Where does chromium-6 come from?

Hexavalent chromium found in water can occur naturally from the erosion of chromium deposits in the environment. The substance can also appear as waste discharge from a variety of industrial activities and applications.

What is DWA doing to make sure chromium-6 does not affect the local water supply?

DWA will continue to monitor our water supply to ensure we adhere to all state and federal requirements, including chromium-6 standards. Providing safe, clean water to our customers is DWA’s top priority.

Will my water rates increase because of chromium-6?

At this time, DWA does not need to build any new facilities to address chromium-6. Therefore, we do not anticipate an increase in rates because of chromium-6.

Where can I get more information?

More information on the safety of our water is available in DWA’s annual Water Quality Report at www.dwa.org/reports.

For additional questions, please contact the DWA Public Affairs Department at outreach@dwa.org or 760-323-4971, extension 272, 273 or 184.