times, murky and smelly, but the city’s annual Drinking Water
Quality Report shows that it is safe to drink.
Hollister’s water is notoriously hard and can be, at various times, murky and smelly, but the city’s annual Drinking Water Quality Report shows that it is safe to drink.
The more than 6,000 customers who received the eight-page report in recent weeks used more than 930 million gallons of water in 2010, an average of 8,835 gallons per single family residence each month.
“Water from our wells is good quality in that it meets all standards, but it tends to be higher in mineral content than surface water because it comes from aquifers in the ground where minerals are deposited naturally,” said Jim Hart, a utility technician with the City of Hollister and author of the report.
The report noted that the city’s water system had no violations in 2010 and meets all federal and state water quality requirements.
“We’ve shown through our monitoring and testing program that although some contaminants are detectable, they occur below maximum allowable levels,” the report stated.
“The main taste, and to some extent, odor issues are related to the chlorination process which is a disinfection process required by regulation,” Hart said. “A very simple way to make water taste better is by removing the chlorine residual through a simple filter on the end of a faucet or by using a water pitcher that filters water you pour into it. You can also get a filter installed at your house that filters out the fine sediment typically found in municipal water systems.”
The cloudiness in Hollister water is often a result of air bubbles that escape from the faucet when the water is forced through the 45-mile system under pressure.
“If you let a glass of water sit for a couple of minutes, it will turn clear,” Hart said.
The amount of water consumption has decreased in recent years for various reasons, Hart said, ranging from economic factors to water conservation efforts.
“We’ve had some significant water savings through conservation practices and changes in the economy,” he said. “People are more aware of conservation and the Water Resource Association of San Benito County has done a wonderful job of providing free water conservation audits at homes or businesses. Plumbing retrofits and the toilet replacement program have also been very successful, as thousands of the old water-wasting toilet units have been replaced with low-flow models.”
Hart said water customers can help maintain good water quality by protecting storm water runoff, which can enter the groundwater supply.
“Homeowners can reduce the amount of lawn chemicals that get washed off into storm drains and ultimately can get into drinking water supplies,” he said. “Not doing car maintenance and putting things down storm drains that don’t belong there can help. Proper disposal of hazardous waste through the John Smith Landfill every third Saturday of the month also helps.”
Taking advantage of free water conservation programs “ultimately saves money on people’s bill and saves water for those years where we don’t have as much as we did this year,” Hart said.
The higher than normal rainfall amount this year has helped the overall supply, but Hart pointed out that the state still has limited storage capacity for all of that water.
“Our reservoirs can only hold so much,” he said. “The excess runs off into the ocean. It’s important to conserve even when we have a good rainy season.”
For more information about the water quality report, call Jim Hart or Henry Gonzales at 636-4377. For details about the various programs of the Water Resources Association of San Benito County, including free water usage audits, rebates and other information, call 637-4378 or visit www.sbcwd.com and click on “water conservation.”