News

ECUA Statement Regarding the EWG Article on Chromium-6
09/22/2016

The latest release from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) regarding Chromium 6 in the air and potable water supplies throughout the nation is naturally causing confusion and concern among our residents.   First, let us state that the ECUA’s drinking water meets or exceeds all Federal and State safe drinking water standards.  Our annual drinking water quality report is available on our website at http://www.ecua.fl.gov/water-quality/consumer-confidence-reports.

Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, soils, and gases throughout the country. The allegation by EWG is that it is a carcinogen and hazardous to humans.

It is important to consider the source of these allegations. The EWG is an environmental advocacy group that has historically been involved in controversies because of their profound statements and lack of scientific research to support them. They are the group that issued a drinking water report in 2009 that rated the ECUA's water as the worst in the country.  Closer scrutiny showed that the conclusions of their report were flawed and completely off-base.  Please see our Water Quality section on this website to learn more about that report.  Some people refer to the group as non-credible, with an agenda of trying to use public pressure to force the EPA to adopt stricter regulatory requirements for certain elements, as was the case in 2009.

With regard to Chromium-6:  the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Chromium-6 in drinking water is 100 parts per billion (ppb). This limit was set based upon established scientific methods.  The EWG is advocating an arbitrary “health limit” of .03 ppb, even though they do not have any qualified scientific results on their own to support their position. EWG references studies by others, but fails to recognize the hard evidence and scientific studies conducted by the EPA.

The EPA MCL of 100 ppb is the standard throughout the US and ECUA is unaware of any initiative by the EPA or FDEP to modify the requirement. The State of California has established a 10 ppb limit because of the natural propensity for higher levels of the element in the soil in that part of the country. Many potable water supplies throughout the country have minimal levels of Chromium-6 in the water, but very few exceed the EPA established limit of 100 ppb.

The average concentration in the ECUA water system is .08 ppb, which is far below the EPA established limit of 100 ppb, and even well below the California regulatory limit.  Again, the ECUA water meets all Federal and State of Florida water quality requirements.