As required under the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments, a source water assessment must be completed for all active drinking water sources. The goal of the source water assessment is to inventory all potential activities that may degrade the quality of the source water.
The Long Beach Water Department (LBWD) completed the required source water assessments for its active wells in April 2003. The Department currently oversees about 30 active wells. New wells that are constructed after this date must also undergo a similar assessment. The most recent assessment concluded that all active wells are considered most vulnerable to the community sewer collection system. Depending on location, some wells are vulnerable to gas stations, dry cleaners, confirmed leaking underground fuel tanks, airport activities, and historic landfills.
Although the wells are considered vulnerable to the aforementioned activities, the LBWD performs water quality monitoring for each active well annually and has not detected any constituents that suggests contamination.
LBWD operates a large groundwater treatment facility and manages a number of water quality field testing stations throughout the city to monitor the quality of the city’s water supply.
Between claims made by people selling water-treatment devices and news reports about the state of our environment, it's easy to forget that the City of Long Beach enjoys a very high quality of drinking water. Our water undergoes a multi-stage treatment process and rigorous testing to ensure it meets strict government standards.
The treatment process consists of a series of steps. First, raw water is pumped from our source wells to the LBWD Treatment Plant.
Special water treatment chemicals, known as coagulants, are added to the water in order to cause the particles in the water to adhere to one another (called “floc”), making them heavy enough to settle into a basin from which sediment is removed.
Chlorine is then added for disinfection.
At this point, the water is filtered through layers of fine coal and silicate sand. As smaller, suspended particles are removed, turbidity disappears and clear water emerges.
Chlorine and ammonia are added again as a precaution against any bacteria that may still be present. We carefully monitor the amount of chloramine, adding the lowest quantity necessary to protect the safety of your water without compromising taste.)
Finally, fluoride (used to prevent tooth decay) is added and the pH is adjusted (to protect distribution system pipes) before the water is pumped to drinking water reservoirs and into your neighborhood, homes and businesses.