Barstow residents still avoiding perchlorate-tainted water

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Some 40,000 Barstow residents spent a third day avoiding their tapwater Sunday, as officials scrambled to flush the system of a chemical found in rocket fuel and munitions.

The high levels of perchlorate were revealed Thursday in test results from the nearby U.S. Marines Corps Logistics Base Nebo, from samples taken in August. Only one well of 20 feeding the Golden State Water Co. system showed high levels of the chemical, which can interfere with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland, which regulates hormones and growth. Levels were more than 15 times the acceptable benchmark for drinking water, according to water company officials.

How long the perchlorate may have been at unacceptable levels is unknown -- Golden State last tested its wells for perchlorate in December 2009 and was slated to repeat the test in December 2012, an interval that local officials said complied with state regulations.

Read more about the contamination in Barstow.


-- Phil Willon, in Barstow