The Sonoma County Water Agency provides high quality drinking water to eleven cities and water districts in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. These eleven cities and water districts are all part of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership.
Is our tap water safe to drink?
Our water is continually monitored and tested to ensure fresh, safe and clean water is delivered to your tap. All of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partners meet or exceed all health-based standards for tap water quality. Water suppliers are highly regulated – with numerous tests and reports that are required to make public any information available about the quality and potential contaminants in our water.
Water suppliers must deliver to their customers an annual drinking water quality report or consumer confidence report (CCR). This report will tell consumers what contaminants have been detected in their drinking water, how these detection levels compare to drinking water standards, and where their water comes from.
The Sonoma County Water Agency operates under a water supply permit issued by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. This permit requires the Sonoma County Water Agency to operate and maintain its water supply system in compliance with state water law. This permit includes water quality monitoring requirements and various other conditions and criteria. The Sonoma County Water Agency consistently meets state and national standards for drinking water quality.
What about lead in our water?
Our drinking water is very low risk for lead contamination. Water pipes are typically copper or plastic with few older homes having galvanized iron. In addition, lead service lines are not common and all new household plumbing fixtures are required to be lead free.
Additionally, to reduce the risk of corrosion, the pH of your drinking water is adjusted with sodium hydroxide.
Our water system produces high quality drinking water that does not face the water quality concerns that affect many public water systems throughout the United States.
Learn more about the Click Lead and Copper Rule.
Your water provider tests your water up to the water meter. Beyond the water meter, the plumbing system belongs to the customer. If you are concerned about your home’s private plumbing, you can have your drinking water tested by a private laboratory.
What determines cost?
Water rates are determined by the cost of maintaining, operating, distributing and treating water. For more information about water rates in your area visit your agencies website.
Where does our tap water come from?
Our water is from the Russian River and is pumped from wells about 100 feet below the river bed through a system called river bank filtration. Six groundwater wells, also known as collectors, pump the water through natural sands and gravels that act as a filtering system. The system produces high quality drinking water that does not face the water quality concerns that affect many public water systems throughout the United States. The Water Agency does not provide surface water taken directly from a river or lake to its customers. Learn more about our water supply and transmission system.
How do I know if tap water or bottled water is better?
Tap water is a better choice. Our water is safe, clean and fresh. It’s also carefully monitored, and affordable.
When we look at issues like quality, monitoring and affordability, we see that bottled water doesn’t always measure up. Some brands of bottled water may be of excellent quality, but others can have inferior quality or they may be simply taken from municipal water supplies. All bottled waters are more expensive than tap.
Tap water is less than $0.01/gallon, while bottled water can cost up to $7.50/gallon.
There are also fewer government regulations to guide the bottled water industry. Tap water is regulated by stringent standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. For quality, consistency and affordability, choose tap water.
Why is our water cloudy?
Cloudy water is commonly caused by air in the water. One of the many properties of water is its ability to dissolve gases, including air. Sometimes the air comes back out of the water in the form of many tiny bubbles, giving the water a temporary milky white appearance. To determine if the white color in the water is due to air, fill a clear glass with water and set it on the counter. Observe the glass of water for two to three minutes. If the white color is due to air, the water will begin to clear at the bottom of the glass first and then gradually clear all the way to the top. This is a natural phenomenon and is completely normal; the water is safe to use.
If the cloudiness remains please notify your water agency to help determine the cause(s) of cloudiness of your drinking water.
Why does our tap water smell like chlorine?
The Sonoma County Water Agency adds chlorine to its water supply to provide residual disinfection throughout its water transmission system. This is one of the ways we can ensure our water is safe. You can easily get rid of the smell by filling up a pitcher of water and letting it sit for a few minutes. The chlorine smell will dissipate.
Is our water fluoridated?
No. We do not add fluoride to the tap water. Additionally, the average naturally-occurring fluoride level was so low in 2014 that we could not detect it.
Because we do not fluoridate our water you may want to consult your dentist about ways to prevent tooth decay. For more information about fluoridation, oral health, and current issues, visit the website for the County of Sonoma, Department of Health Services. The optimal fluoride level recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) is 0.7 ppm
Water quality mandates
Water Quality Reports are also known as a Consumer Confidence Report. The Consumer Confidence Reports are a key part of the public’s right-to-know as established in the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA, section 1414(c)). The Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR, is an annual water quality report that a community water system is required by Federal regulations (63 FR 44511, August 19, 1998) to provide to its customers each year. Community water systems (CWSs) serving 10,000 or more persons are required to mail or otherwise directly deliver these reports. The report lists the regulated contaminants found in the drinking water, as well as health effects information related to violations of the drinking water standards. More information on CCRs can be accessed on the EPA’s website and the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)