Glendale's water quality levels continued to track well within state limits for contaminants in 2012, although a pollutant that was detected for the first time in 2011 reared its head again, according to a recent report mailed out to utility customers.
For the second straight year, Methyl Tertiary-butyl Ether — a chemical additive once used in gasoline and better known as MTBE — was found in the Glorietta Wells, according to the annual water quality report. However, even the largest sampling, 0.52 parts per billion, is nowhere near the primary state limit of 13 parts per billion.
Last year, Glendale officials detected the chemical at a level of 0.53 parts per billion.
Ramon Abueg, chief assistant general manager for electric and water operations for Glendale Water & Power, said that overall, the agency was happy with the results listed in the report.
"I think the best message is that the water that our residents drink, it meets or exceeds all the federal and state requirements, and that's what we strive to do," he said.
In 2012, Glendale Water & Power delivered 8.9 billion gallons of water to its customers, 64% of which was purchased from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the region's wholesaler.
Water that comes from local sources — such as the San Fernando Basin and city wells — is blended with clean imports from the Metropolitan Water District. That blending brings traces of some contaminants in certain Glendale wells down to non-detectable levels in the overall supply.
As with MTBE and other contaminants, that holds true for chromium 6, the cancer-causing element left behind by the aerospace manufacturing industry of decades past. Glendale Water & Power has been at the forefront of using high-tech cleaning methods to develop a long-term, cost-effective method for stripping the contaminant from underground aquifers.
A significant development in 2012 was the issuance of a $35 million water bond that will be used to fund improvements to infrastructure, including the replacement of main lines, relining of pipes and upgrades to reservoirs.
Abueg said these funds were also being used to get a plan to develop a well at the Rockhaven Sanatorium in North Glendale moving again after the project was put on hold last year due to funding constraints.