Undue Alarm Over Bacteria in Water

* The Orange County Water District read with concern the recent article on researchers detecting Legionnaires' bacteria in Mile Square Regional Park reclaimed water.

The district's concern is that the story caused undue alarm and cast a negative perception upon the use of reclaimed water. This is unfortunate for a number of very important reasons.

Legionnaires' bacteria occurs naturally throughout the world; it is even found in potable water systems. Therefore, it is not unusual that Legionnella was found at Mile Square Regional Park.

Additionally, the techniques employed by the researchers did not differentiate between organisms that were dead or alive. Orange County Health Care Agency officials have stated that Legionnaires' disease is not a health problem in Orange County.

Reclaimed water undergoes a high degree of treatment and meets stringent health standards.

Statewide, there are over 200 reclamation facilities, some of which have been in operation since the turn of the century.

In Orange County, we have been using reclaimed water for over 25 years. There has never been an illness associated with the use of this water.

The use of reclaimed water for landscape irrigation has enjoyed widespread environmental and community support and is key to meeting water supply needs in Orange County.

Orange County Water District is a strong advocate of reclaimed water as a safe, environmentally compatible supply.

WILLIAM R. MILLS JR.

General manager

Orange County Water District

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