Coachella Valley Water District Moves Forward with Chrom-6 Treatment

A rendering of one of the plants that will be built as part of this project. Hazen and Sawyer has parterned on several prior research studies examining chromium-6 and how to best remove it from drinking water.

(LOS ANGELES, CA – January 28, 2015) – The Coachella Valley Water District is about to embark on its costliest infrastructure project ever, designing water treatment plants to remove a potentially hazardous heavy metal from the water supply in places from Rancho Mirage to Thermal.

The CVWD board voted Tuesday to approve $15.5 million for the design of water treatment plants to remove the carcinogen hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, from the water pumped from 19 wells. CVWD decided to hire the New York-based firm Hazen and Sawyer Environmental Engineers & Scientists for the project.

The water district, like many others across the state, is taking steps to comply with a new safe drinking water limit for chromium-6 set by the California Department of Public Health. In a portion of the aquifer beneath the Coachella Valley, the groundwater has levels of chromium-6 that exceed the new state standard.

The first phase will involve building about 15 ion-exchange treatment plants in places including Rancho Mirage, Thousand Palms, Palm Desert, Thermal, La Quinta and near Desert Hot Springs, said Steve Bigley, the water district’s director of environmental services.

The water agency has determined that the water from 37 of its 96 wells will likely require treatment. The first phase would take care of about half the wells with chromium-6 levels above the state limit.

Excerpted from The Desert Sun.

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