What’s in a Glass? Understanding Hawthorne’s Water Report

Hawthorne once again released its annual drinking water report, but what do the results actually mean?
Why should you care?
The first table of the report shows a list of contaminants that were monitored in the previous year, with the range of concentrations observed and whether or not these concentrations were in violation of state standards.
Only results for coliform, nitrate, halogenated byproducts (from the chemical disinfection process), and residual chlorine are shown—coliform is a common indicator of bacteria, while nitrate can be a proxy for nutrient and pesticide contamination (high levels can also cause methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby” syndrome).
So what is the schedule for contaminant monitoring, and where can one access test results?
Outside of contaminants, the water report shows results for secondary standards, or components of drinking water that are monitored but do not pose health risks.
Hawthorne has a level of hardness that exceeds the RMCL, or the Recommended Max Containment Level, in this case a suggested upper limit set by the state.
A final note is that the water report also shows a water source assessment, with a table displaying the number of wells bearing a high, medium, or low risk (H-M-L) of impact from an accompanying class of contaminant.
Notably, all 21 of Hawthorne’s wells are at a high risk for VOC’s, even though tests show drinking water is not currently contaminated.
In fact, that knowledge is still growing today, and in the future there may be more things to worry about in the annual water report.

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