A private water company that supplies 27,000 customers in the San Gabriel Valley will begin a survey next month to determine if lead is present in its drinking water.
The local survey of 27 randomly selected customers is part of a nationwide survey that American Water Works Inc. is conducting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Officials at the firm, the nation's largest private water supplier, say that lead has never been detected in local drinking water and they do not expect to find high levels during the February testing. They are undertaking the study to convince the EPA that frequent monitoring for lead in the nation's drinking water is unnecessary.
"EPA is leaning in the direction of having all water companies test their water for lead four times a year," said Chuck Shaw, operations manager at the firm's Southern California subsidiary. "The agency is also thinking of requiring 150 samples per 1,000 customers. We hope to show through testing that such action is excessive."
Several health problems have been associated with the consumption of lead. Lead does not occur naturally in drinking water, but plumbing materials in homes and businesses are potential sources of the substance in tap water.