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How to find out about your water
treatment facility and what you can do


First, query the EPA Risk Management Plan database. Finding water treatment facilities (and any other facilities for that matter!) may be difficult. I just checked my county, Santa Cruz, and nearby Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara County reports appeared to be okay. By that I mean that to my knowledge there are three water treatment facilities in the county and the database contained these three reports. Santa Cruz County was a different story.

I searched for county="santa cruz" and state="california" and did NOT find the water treatment facility within a mile of my home or the water treatment facility in nearby Watsonville. I then searched for city="santa cruz" and state="california" (I left the county field blank). This time there was a report listed for the water treatment facility miles from my home in the hills, but still no report for the big plant nearby. I checked the facility's error report and found that they had omitted the county name. (Note that they also mispelled their street name, gave the wrong area code, and that the geographic coordinates place this facility in a neighboring county over 30 miles away! This explains why the facility did not show up when I queried for facilities in my county). So far, there is no explanation for why the two other facilities (that I know of) have not filed Risk Management Plans. Note that of the 60,000 plus facilities required to file Risk Management Plans, only 14,597 have done so. You can check this for yourself at http://www.epa.gov:9966/srmpdcd/owa/rmp_totals$.startup.

So, what to do? Email and call your local officials, public works departments, environmental groups, and water treatment facilities. I, unfortunately, do not have the resources to provide you with all the contact information, but most of these should be on the web in your local government pages. If they have submitted a report you can find the contact information, but this may not be accurate. My local Santa Cruz facility misreported their area code. I've created a sample email that you can edit and use. If your facility has not reported their Risk Management Plan, I would add a question about that, adding it to the other 10 questions (courtesy of Y2K & Society).

There is no substitute for local knowledge. Only you can check to be sure that your facilities have reported and that the reports are accurate.

Good Luck,

Mike

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